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" Then the vigilants post themselves as a wall of defence about 
the building." page 423. 






Author of " Shadowed by Three," " Madeline Payne, 1 

" Dangerous Ground," " The Diamond Coterie," 

etc., etc. 



Copyright, 1885, by 


Copyright, 1882, by 




It was a June day ; breezy, yet somewhat too warm. 
The slow going old passenger train on the slow going mail 
route, that shall be nameless in these chronicles, seemed in 
less of a hurry than usual, and I, stretched lazily across 
two seats, with my left arm in a sling, was beginning to 
yield to the prevailing atmosphere of stupidity, when we 
rumbled up to a village station, and took on board a single 

I was returning from a fruitless mission ; and had stepped 
on board the eastward-bound train in anything but an 
enviable frame of mind; and no wonder! I, who prided 
myself upon my skill in my profession ; J, who was counted 
by my chief the " best detective on the force, sir," had 
started, less than a week before, for a little farming settle- 
ment in one of the interior States, confident of my ability 

to unravel soon, and easily, a knotty problem. 



I had taken every precaution to conceal my identity, and 
believed myself in a fair way to unveil the mystery that 
"Kad brought grief and consternation into the midst of those 
comfortable, easy-going farmers ; and I had been spotted 
9t the very outset ! I had been first warned, in a gentle- 
manly but anonymous fashion, to leave the neighborhood, 
and then, because I did not avail myself of the very first 
opportunity to decamp, had been shot from behind a hedge ! 

And this is how it happened : 

Groveland, so called, doubtless, because of the total 
absence of anything bearing closer resemblance to a grove 
than the thrifty orchards scattered here and there, is 
a thriving township, not a town. 

Its inhabitants reside in the midst of their own farms, 
and, save the farm buildings, the low, rambling, sometimes 
picturesque farm houses, or newer, more imposing, " im- 
proved" and often exquisitely ugly, white painted dwell- 
ings ; the blacksmith shop, operated by a thrifty farmer and 
his hard-fisted sons; the post-office, kept in one corner of 
the "front room" by a sour-visaged old farmer's wife ; and 
the " deestrict" school-house, then in a state of quies- 
cence, town institutions there were none in Groveland. 

The nearest village, and that an exceedingly small one, 
was five miles west of Groveland's western boundary line; 
and the nearest railroad town lay ten miles east of the 
on stern boundary. 

So the Grovelanders were a community unto themselves, 


ami were seldom disturbed by a ripple from the outside 

It was a well-to-do community. Most of its inhabitants 
had " squatted" there when the land was cheap and uncul- 
tivated, and they were poor and young. 

Time, railroads, and the grand march of civilization had 
mcreased the value of their acres ; and their own industry 
had reared for them pleasant homes, overflowing granaries, 
barns "good enough to live in," orchards, vineyards, all 
manner of comforts and blessings. Strong sons and fair 
daughters had grown up around them ; every man knew 
his neighbor, and had known him for years. They shared 
in their neighborhood joys and griefs, and made common 
cause at weddings, funerals, threshings, huskings, cider 
makings, everything. 

One would suppose it difficult to have a secret in Grove- 
land, and yet a mystery had come among them. 

'Squire Ewing, 'squire by courtesy, lived in a fine new 

white house on a fine farm in the very center of the town- 

"ship. His family consisted of his wife, two daughters, the 

eldest, eighteen, the younger, fifteen, and two sons, boys of 

twelve and ten. 

The daughters of 'Squire Ewing were counted among the 
brightest and prettiest in Groveland, and they were not 
lacking in accomplishments, as accomplishments go in such 
communities. Much learning was not considered a necessity 
among the Groveland young ladies, but they had been 


smitten with the piano-playing mania, and every Winter 
the district school-house was given over, for one night in 
the week, to the singing school. 

The Misses Ewing were ranked among the best 
"musicians" of Groveland, and they had also profited fora 
time by the instructions of the nearest seminary, or young 
ladies' school. 

One evening, just as the sun was setting, Ellen, or Nell 
Ewing, as she was familiarly called, mounted her pony and 
cantered blithely away, to pass the night with a girl friend. 

It was nothing unusual for the daughters of one farmer 
to ride or drive miles and pass the night or a longer time 
with the daughters of another, and Nellie's destination was 
only four miles away. 

The night pa.Bsed and half of the ensuing day, but the 
eldest daughter of Farmer Ewing did not return. 

However, there was no cause for alarm in this, and 
'Squire Ewing ate his evening meal in peace, confident that 
his daughter would return before the night had closed in. 
But a second night came and went, and still she did not come. 

Then the good farmer became impatient, and early on 
the morning of the second day he dispatched his eldest son 
to hasten the return of the tardy one. 

But the boy came back alone, and in breathless agitation. 
Nellie had not been seen by the Ballous since the night she left 
home. She had complained of a headache, and had decided 
to return home again. She had remained at Mrs. Ballou's 


only an hour; it was not yet dark when she rode away. 

Well, Nellie Ewing was never seen after that, and not a 
clue to her hiding-place, or her fate, could be discovered. 

Detectives were employed ; every possible and impossi- 
ble theory was " evolved" and worked upon, but with no 
other result than failure. 

Groveland was in a state of feverish excitement ; con- 
jectures the most horrible and most absurd were afloat ; 
nothing was talked of save the mysterious disappearance of 
Nellie Ewing. 

And so nearly three months passed. At the end of that 
time another thunderbolt fell. 

Mamie Rutger, the only daughter of a prosperous German 
farmer; wild little Mamie, who rode the wickedest colts, 
climbed the tallest tress, sang loudest in the singing-school, 
and laughed oftenest at the merry-makings, also vanished. 
At first they thought it one of her jokes, for she was given 
to practical joking; but she did not come back. No trace 
of her could be found. 

At twilight one June evening she was flitting about the 
door-yard, sometimes singing gayly, sometimes bending over 
a rosebush, sometimes snatching down handfuls of early 
cherries. After that she was seen no more. 

Then ensued another search, and a panic possessed that 
once quiet community. The country was scoured. Every 
foot of road, every acre of ground, every hedge or clump 
of trees, every stream, every deserted or shut-up building 
for miles around was faithfully searched. 


And then Farmer Rutger and 'Squire Ewing closeted 
themselves together, took counsel of each other, and decided 
to call in the aid of a city detective. They came together 
to our office and laid their case before our chief. 

"If any man can clear up this matter, it's Bathurst," said 
that bluff old fellow. 

And so I was called into the consultation. 

It was a very long and very earnest one. Questions 
were asked that would have done credit to the brightest 
lawyer. Every phase of the affair, or the two affairs, was 
closely examined from different standpoints. Every pos- 
sibility weighed; copious notes taken. 

Before the two men left us, I had in my mind's eye a 
tolerably fair map of Groveland, and in my memory, 
safely stowed away, the names of many Grovelanders, to- 
gether with various minute, and seemingly irrelevant, items 
concerning the families, and nearest friends and neigh- 
bors, of the two bereaved fathers. 

They fully perceived the necessity for perfect secrecy, 
and great caution. And I felt assured that no word or 
sign from them would betray my identity and actual busi- 
ness when, a few days later, I should appear in Grove- 

It was a strange case ; one of the sort that had a won- 
derful fascination for me; one of the sort that once entered 
upon, absorbed me soul and body, sleeping or waking, day 
and night, for I was an enthusiast in my profession. 


After waiting a few days I set out for the scene of the 
mystery. I did not take the most direct route to reach my 
destination, but went by a circuitous way to a small town 
west of the place, and so tramped into it, coming, not from 
the city, but from the opposite direction. 

My arrival was as unobtrusive as I could make it, and 
I carried my wardrobe in a somewhat dusty bundle, swung 
across my shoulder by a strap. 

I had assumed the character of a Swede in search of em- 
ployment, and my accent and general ensemble were per- 
fect in their way. 

Perseveringly I trudged from farm to farm, meeting 
sometimes with kindness, and being as often very briefly 
dismissed, or ordered off for a tramp. But no one was in 
need of a man until I arrived at the widow Ballou's. 

This good woman, who was a better farmer than some of 
her male neighbors, and who evidently had an eye to the 
saving of dollars and cents, listened quite indifferently 
to my little story while I told how long I had looked for 
work, and how I had been willing to labor for very small 
wages. But when I arrived at the point where I repre- 
sented myself as now willing to work for my board until 
I could do better, her eyes brightened, she suddenly found 
my monotone more interesting, decided that I "looked 
honest," and, herself, escorted me to the kitchen and dealt 
me out a bountiful supper, for I had reached the Ballou 
farmhouse at sundown. 




Three days passed, and of course during that time I 
heard much about the two girls and their singular disap- 

At night, after work was done, and supper disposed of, 
Mrs. Ballou would send some one to the post-office. 
This duty had usually fallen to Miss Grace Ballou, or been 
chosen by her, but since the night when Nellie Ewing rode 
away from the door, never again to be seen, Mrs. Ballou 
had vetoed the evening canters that Grace so much loved, 
and so the post-office was attended to by Master Fred, the 
spoiled son and heir, aged thirteen, or by the "hired 

On the evening of the third day of my service, I saddled 
one of the farm horses, and rode to the post-office to fetch 
the widow's mail, and great was my surprise when the grim 
postmistress presented me with a letter bearing my assumed 
name, Chris Ollern, and directed to the care of Mrs. 
. Ballou. 

Stowing away the widow's papers and letters in a capa- 


clous coat pocket, and my own letter in a smaller inner one, 
I rode thoughtfully homeward. 

Who had written me? Not the men at the office; they 
were otherwise instructed ; besides, the letter was a local 
one, bearing only the Groveland mark. Could it be that 
Farmer Kutger or 'Squire Ewing had forgotten all my in- 
structions, and been insane enough to write me? 

I hurriedly put my horse in his stable, unburdened my 
pocket of the widow's mail, and mounted to my room. 

Locking my door and lighting a tallow candle the 
widow objected to kerosene in sleeping rooms, I opened 
my letter. 

It was brief, very, containing only these words: 

CHRIS OLLERN Asyou call yourself, unless you wish to disappear 
as effectually as did Nellie Ewing and Mamie Rutger, you will 
abandon your present pursuit. A word to the wise is sufficient. 

Here was an astonisher, and here was also a clue. I was 
betrayed, or discovered. But the enemy had 'showed his 
hand. I had also made a discovery. 

There was an enemy then ; there had been foul play ; 
and that enemy was still in the vicinity, as this letter proved. 

It was a wily enemy too; the letter would betray nothing 
as regarded identity. It was printed; the letters were 
smooth and even, but perfectly characterless. It was a 
wily enemy, but not quite a wise one, as the sending of 
such a letter proved. 



I did not leave my room again that night, but sat for 
hours thinking. 

The next morning as I came from the barn-yard with a 
pail of milk, I encountered Miss Grace Ballou. She was 
feeding a brood of chickens, and seemed inclined to talk 
with me. 

"Did you ever see such fine chicks, Chris?" she asked ; 
" and they are only two weeks old." 

I stopped, of course, to admire the chickens and express 
my admiration in broken English. 

Suddenly she moved nearer me, and said, in a lower 
tone : 

" Chris, did you bring any letters for any one except 
mother, last night?" 

Promptly and imblushingly, yet somewhat surprised, I 
answered, " Xo." 

Her eyes searched my face for a second, and then she 
said, falling back a step : 

" Well, don't say anything about my asking you, Chris. 
I I expected a letter." 

That night I went to the post-office as usual, and the 
next morning Miss Grace repeated her question : 

" Did you bring no letters for any one, positively ?" 

" No, there were only papers that night." 

The third night after the receipt of my mysterious warn- 
ing, however, there came a letter for Grace, which, a little 
to my surprise, was promptly handed over by her mother. 

"Chris, did you bring any letters for any one, except mother, last 
night?" page 18. 



Whether this was the expected missive or not it threw the 
young lady into unmistakable raptures. 

Amy was coming ! Amy Holmes ; she would be at the 
station to-morrow, and Grace must go in the carriage to 
meet her. 

Everybody was pleased except Fred Ballon. Mrs. 
Ballon heartily expressed her satisfaction, and announced 
that I should drive with Grace to " the station ;" and Ann, 
the " help," became quite animated. 

But Fred scornfully declined his mother's proposition, 
that he should ride to town with his sister and myself. 

"Catch me," he sniifed, "for that stuck-up town girl; 
she was always putting ideas into Grace's head ; and he 
hated girls anyway. Arid hoped some one would just carry 
Amy Holmes off as they did Nellie Ewing." 

Whereupon Grace turned, first pale, then scarlet, and 
lastly, flew at her brother and boxed his ears soundly. 

The next day we went as per programme to the town, 
ten miles distant, where Miss Holmes would be. She had 
arrived before us, and was waiting. 

She was a handsome, showy-looking girl, stylishly 
dressed, and very self-possessed in manner; evidently a 
girl who knew something of town life. 

We found her beguiling the time of waiting by conver- 
sation with a well-dressed, handsome young fellow, who 
was evidently a prime favorite with both young ladies. He 
accompanied them while they went about making certain 


purchases that Mrs. Ballon had charged her daughter not 
to forget, and then he assisted them into the carriage, while 
I stowed away their bundles, shook their hands at parting, 
and stood gazing after them as the carriage rolled away, the 
very model of a young Don Juan, I thought. 

I had hoped to gain something from my ten-mile drive 
with the two young ladies sitting behind me. I had 
learned that Miss Holmes was a friend of the Ewings, and 
also of Mamie Rutger, and as she had not been in the vicinity 
since these young ladies had vanished, what more natural 
than that she should talk very freely of their mysterious 
fate, and might not these girl friends know something, 
say something, that in my hands would prove a clue? 

But I was disappointed; during the long drive the names 
of Nellie Ewing and Mamie Rutger never once passed their 
lips. Indeed, save for a few commonplaces, these two 
young ladies, who miglit be supposed to have so much to 
say to each other, never talked at all. 

I had driven the steady old w r ork horses in going for 
Miss Holmes, and so when night came, a feeling of human- 
ity prompted me to buckle the saddle upon a young horse 
scarcely more than half broken, and set oft' upon his back 
for the post-office. 

It was a little later than usual, and by the time I had 
accomplished the first half of my journey, stow r ed away 
the usual newspapers, and remounted my horse, it was 
fully dark; and I rode slowly through the gloom, think- 


ing that Groveland was ambitious indeed to bring the mail 
every day from a railway ten miles dista? t, -ind wonder- 
ing what it would be like to be the mail boy, and jog over 
that same monotonous twenty miles of fetching and carry- 
ing every day. 

I had now reached a high hedge that assured me that my 
homeward journey was half accomplished, when, from an 
imaginary inland mail boy, I was suddenly transformed 
into an actual, crippled John Gilpin. From out the black- 
ness of the hedge came a flash and a sharp report ; my horse 
bounded under me, my left arm dropped helpless, and then 
I was being borne over the ground as if mounted upon a 
whirlwind ! 

It was useless, to command, useless to strive with my 
single hand to curb the frightened beast. It was a miracle 
that I did not lose my seat, for at first I reeled, and feeling 
the flow of blood, feared a loss of consciousness. But that 
swift rush through the dewy evening air revived me, and 
rallied my scattered senses. 

As we dashed on, I realized that my life had been at- 
tempted, and that the would-be assassin, the abductor or 
destroyer of the two missing girls, had been very near me; 
that but for the unruly beast I rode I might perhaps have 
returned his little compliment; at least have found some 
trace of him. 

My horse kept his mad pace until he had reached his 
own barn-yard gate, and then he stopped so suddenly as to 
very nearly unseat me. 


I quickly decided upon my course of action, and now, 
dismounting and merely leading my horse into the inclosure, 
I went straight to the house. I knew where to find Mrs. 
Ballou at that hour, and was pretty sure of finding her 

As I had anticipated, she was seated in her own room, 
where she invariably read her evening papers in soli- 
tude. I entered without ceremony, and much to her 

But I was not mistaken in her ; she uttered no loud ex- 
clamation, either of anger at my intrusion, or of fright a-t 
sight of my bleeding arm. She rose swiftly and came 
straight up to me. 

Before she could ask a question, I motioned her to be 
silent, and closed the door carefully. After which, with- 
out any of my foreign accent, I said : 

" Mrs. Ballou, a woman who can manage a great farm 
and coin money in the cattle trade, can surely keep a secret. 
Will you bind up my arm while I tell you mine?" 

"What!" she exclaimed, starting slightly; "you are 
not a" 

"Not a Swede? No, madame," I replied ; "I am a de- 
tective, and I have been shot to-night by the hand that has 
struck at the happiness of 'Squire Ewing and his neighbor." 

The splendid woman comprehended the situation in- 

"Sit there," she said, pointing to her own easy chair. 

"From out the blackness of Ihe liedne rnme fi flash and a sharp 
report; my horse bounded under me, my left arm dropped help- 
less." page 23. 

*2 25 


" And don't talk any more now. I shall cut away your 

" Can yon ?" I asked, deprecatingly. 

"Can I?" contemptuously; "I bleed my cattle." 

I smiled a little in spite of myself; then 

" Consider me a colt, a heifer, anything," I said, resign- 
edly. " But I feel as if I had been bled enough." 

"I should think so," she replied, shortly. "Now be 
still ; it's lucky that you came to me." 

I thought so too, but obedient to her command, I " kept 

She cut away coat and shirt sleeves; she brought from 
the kitchen tepid water and towels, and from her own es- 
pecial closet, soft linen rags. She bathed, she stanched, she 
bandaged ; it proved to be only a flesh wound, but a deep one. 

"Now then," she commanded in her crisp way, when all 
was done, and I had been refreshed with a very large glass 
of wine, "tell me about this." 

" First," I said, " your colt stands shivering yet, no doubt, 
and all dressed in saddle and bridle, loose in the stable- 

" Wait," she said, and hurried from the room. 

In a few moments she came back. 

" The colt is in his stable, and no harm done," she an- 
nounced, sitting down opposite me. "How do you feel?" 

"A little weak, that is all. Now, I will tell you all 
about it." 


In the fewest words possible, I told my story, and ended 
by saying: 

"Mrs. Ballon, yon, as a woman, will not be watched or 
suspected; may I leave with yon the task of telling 'Squire 
Ewing and Mr. Ilntger what has happened to me?" 

"Yon may," with decision. 

"And I must get away from here before others know how 
much or little I am injured. Can your woman's wit help 
me? I want it given out that my arm is broken. Do you 
comprehend me?" 

" Perfectly. Then no one here must sec you, and you 
should have that wound dressed by a good surgeon, I think. 
There is a train to the city to-morrow at seven. I will get 
up in the morning at three o'clock, make us a cup of coffee, 
harness the horses, and drive you to Sharon." 

"You?" I exclaimed. 

" Yes, I ! Why not ? It's the only way. And now, 
would you mind showing me that letter?" 

I took it from my pocket-book and put it in her hand. 
She read it slowly, and then looked up. 

" Why did you not heed this warning?" she asked. 

" Because I wanted to find out what it meant." 

"Well, you found out," sententiously. "Now, go to 
bed, but first let me help you remove that coat." 

" Mrs. Ballon, you are a woman in a thousand," I ex- 
claimed, as I rose to receive her assistance. "And I don't 
see how I can ever repay you. You are your own reliance." 

Why did you not heed this warning?" she asked page 28. 



As I spoke, the coat fell from my shoulder and my hand 
touched the weapon in my pistol pocket. 

She saw it, too, and pointing to it, said : 

" I have never owned a pistol, because I could not buy 
one without letting Fred know it; he is always with me in 
town. If you think I have earned it give me that." 

" Gladly/' I said, drawing out the small silver-mounted 
six-shooter; " it is loaded, every barrel. Can you use it?" 

"Yes; I know how to use firearms." 

"Then when you do use it, if ever, think of me." I 

" I will," she said, quite soberly. 

And little either of us dreamed how effectively she would 
use it one day. 

The next morning, at half-past three, we drove out of 
the farm, yard, en route for the railway station. 

During our drive, we talked like two men, and when we 
parted at Sharon we were very good friends. . I dropped 
her work-hardened hand reluctantly, and watched her 
drive away, thinking that she was the only really sensible 
woman I had ever known, and feeling half inclined to fall 
in love with her in spite of the fact that she was tweiity- 
five years my senior. 




That is how I chanced to be rolling city-ward on that 
phlegmatic, oft-stopping, slow going, accomodation train, 
and that is why I was out of temper, and out of tune. 

My operation had been retarded. Instead of working 
swiftly on to a successful issue, this must be a case of wait- 
ing, of wit against wit, and I must report to my chief a 
a balk in the very beginning. 

Nevertheless, as I said in the outset, fifty miles of mon- 
otonous rumble, together with the soothing influence of a 
good cigar, had blunted the edge of my self-disgust; my 
arm was quite easy, only warning me now and then that it 
was a crippled arm; I was beginning to feel phlegmatic 
and comfortable. 

I had formed a habit of not thinking about my work 
when the thinking would be useless, and there was little 
room for effective thought in this case. My future move- 
ments were a foregone conclusion. So I rested, and fell 
almost asleep, and then it was that the single passenger of 
whom I made mention, came on board. 

I had not noticed the name of the station, but as I roused 


myself and looked out, I saw that we were moving along 
the outskirts of a pretty little town, and then I turned my 
eyes toward the new passenger. 

He was com ing down the aisle to wards me, and was a plain, 
somewhat heavy-featured man, with a small, bright, twink- 
ling eye. Certainly it was not a prepossessing countenance, 
biit, just as certainly, it was an honest one. He was 
dressed in some gray stuff, the usual "second best" of a 
thriving farmer or mechanic, and might have been either. 

By the time I had arrived at this stage in my observa- 
tions, there was rustle and stir behind me, and a man who 
had been lounging, silent, moveless, and, as I had supposed, 
asleep, stretched forward a brown fist, exclaiming : 

" Hallo, old boy ! Stop right here. Harding, how are ye ?" 

Of course the "old boy" stopped. There was the usual 
hand shaking, and mutual exclamations of surprise and 
pleasure, not unmixed with profanity. Evidently they 
had been sometime friends and neighbors, and had not 
met before for years. 

They talked very fast and, it seemed to me, unnecessarily 
loud; the one asking, the other answering, questions con- 
cerning a certain village, which, because it would not be 
wise to give its real name we will call Trafton. 

Evidently Trafton was the station we had just left, and 
where we took on this voluble passenger. They talked 
of its inhabitants, its improvements, its business ; of births, 
and deaths, and marriages. It was very uninteresting; I 


was beginning to feel bored, and was meditating a change 
of seat when the tone of the conversation changed some- 
what, and, before I could sufficiently overcome my laziness 
to move, I found myself getting interested. 

" No, Trafton ain't a prosperous town. For the few rich 
ones it's well enough, but the poor well, the only ones 
that prosper are those who live without work." 

"Oh! the rich?" 

"No! the poor. 'Nuffsaid." 

"Oh! I see; some of the old lot there yet; wood piles 

" Wood piles !" 

" And hen roosts." 

"Hen roosts!" in a still deeper tone of disgust. 

"Clothes lines, too, of course." 

" Clothes lines!" Evidently this was the last straw. 
"Thunder and lightning, man, that's baby talk; there's 
more deviltry going on about Trafton than you could scoop 
up in forty ordinary towns." 

" No ! you don't tell me. What's the mischief?" 

"Well, it's easy enough to tell what the mischief is, but 
where it is, is the poser ; but there's a good many in Trafton 
that wouldn't believe you if you told them there was no 
such thing as an organized gang oi marauders near the 

"An organized gang!" 
' "Yes, sir." 


"But, good Lord, that's pretty strong for Trafton. Do 
you believe it ?" 

" Rather," with Yankee dryness. 

" Well, I'm blessed ! Come, old man, tell us some of the 
particulars. What makes you suspect blacklegs about that 
little town?" 

" I've figured the thing down pretty close, and I've had 
reason to. The thing has been going on for a number of 
years, and I've been a loser, and ever since the beginning 
it has moved like clock-work. Five years ago a horse thief 
had not been heard of in Trafton for Lord knows how long, 
until one night Judge Barnes lost a valuable span, taken 
from his stable, slick and clean, and never heard of after- 
wards. Since then, from the town and country, say for 
twenty-five miles around, they have averaged over twenty 
horses every year, and they are always the very best ; picked 
every time, no guess work." 

The companion listener gave a long, shrill whistle, and 
I, supposed by them to be asleep, became very wide awake 
and attentive. 

"But," said the astonished man, "you found some of 

"No, sir; horses that leave Trafton between two days 
never come back again." 

"Good Lord!" 

There was a moment's silence and then the Traftonite 


" But that ain't all ; we can beat the city itself for bur- 

" Burglars, too !" 

"Yes, burglars!" This the gentleman emphasized very 
freely. "And cute ones; they never get caught, and they 
seldom miss a figure." 

"How's that?" 

"They always know where to strike. If a man goes 
away to be absent for a night or two, they know it If a 
man draws money from the bank, or sells cattle, they know 
that. And if some of our farmers, who like to go home 
drunk once in a while, travel the road alone, they are liable 
to be relieved of a part of their load." 

"And who do the folks suspect of doing the mischief?" 

" They talk among themselves, and very carefully, about 
having suspicions and being on the watch ; but very few 
dare breathe a name. And after all, there is no clear reason 
for suspecting anyone." 

"But you suspect some one, or I miss my guess." 

"Well, and so I do, but I ain't the man to lay myself 
liable to an action for damages, so I say nothing, but I'm 

Little more was said on the subject that interested me, 
and presently the Traftonite took leave of his friend, and 
quitted the train at a station, not more than twenty miles 
east of Trafton; the other was going to the city, like my- 

" But that ain't all; we can beat the city itself for burglars." 
page 36. 



When quiet was restored in my vicinity, I settled myself 
for a fresh cogitation, and now I gave no thought to the 
fate of Mamie Rutger and 'Squire Ewing's daughter. My 
mind was absorbed entirely with what I had just heard. 

The pretty, stupid-looking little town of Trafton had 
suddenly become to me what the great Hippodrome is to 
small boys, I wanted to see it; I wanted to explore it, 
and to find the mainspring that moved its mystery. 

The words that had fallen from the lips of the Trafton 
man, had revealed to my practiced ear a more comprehen- 
sive story than lie had supposed himself relating. 

Systematic thieving and burglary for five years ! System- 
atic, and always successful. What a masterful rogue must 
be the founder of this system ! How secure he must be in 
his place, and his scheming, and what a foeman to en- 
counter. It would be something to thwart, to baffle, and 
bring to justice a villain of such caliber. 

After a while my thoughts turned back to Groveland. 
Certainly the mystery there was quite as deep, and the solu- 
tion of it of more vital importance. But Groveland was 
the mystery that I had touched and handled ; Trafton was 
the mystery unseen. 

So my mind returned to the latter subject, and when, 
hours later, we ran into the city, Groveland was still ab- 
sent, and Trafton present, in my thoughts* 




By the time I reached the c'ity my arm, which needed 
fresh bandages, began to pain me ; and I went straight to 
the office of a surgeon, well-known to fame, and to the de- 
tective service. He had bound up many a broken bone for 
our office, and we of the fraternity called him "Our Samari- 
tan." Some of the boys, and, let me confess it, myself 
among the number, called him "Our old woman," as well, 
for, while he bandaged and healed and prescribed, he waged 
continued warfare upon our profession, or rather the dan- 
gers of it. 

Of course, the country needed secret service men, and 
must have them, but there was an especial reason why each 
one of us should not be a detective. We were too young, 
or too old; we were too reckless, or we were cut out for 
some other career. In short, every patient that came under 
the hand of good Dr. Denham, became straightway an 
object of interest to his kindly old heart; and strange 
weakness in a man of his cloth he desired to keep us out 
of danger. 

"So ho!" cried "our old woman/' when I appeared be-- 

"So! Got shot again ? Go on. go on, sir! I'll have the pleas- 
ure of dissecting you yet." page 43. 



fore him with my bandaged arm, "here you are! I knew 
you'd be along soon. You've kept out of my clutches a 
good while. Arm, eh ? Glad of it ! I'll cut it off; I'll cut 
it off! That'll spoil one detective." 

I laughed. We always laughed at the talkative soul, and 
lie expected it. 

" Cut it off, then," I retorted, flinging myself down in a 
chair and beginning to remove my sling. "I don't need a 
left arm to shoot the fellow that gave me this, and I'm 
bound to do that, you know." 

"So! Got shot again? Go on, go on, sir! I'll have 
the pleasure of dissecting you yet. You'll come home dead 
some day, you scoundrel. Ah! here we are. Urn! flesh 
wound, rear of arm, under side ; close, pretty close, pret-ty 
close, sir!" 

All this was jerked out in short breaths, while he was 
undoing and taking a first look at my arm. When the 
actual business of dressing commenced, "our old woman" 
was always silent and very intent upon the delicate task. 

"Pity it wasn't a little worse," he sniffled, moving across 
the room and opening a case of instruments. " You chaps 
get off too easy ; you don't come quite near enough to 
Death's door. There's Carnes, now; got a knife through 
his shoulder, and fretting and fuming because he can't put 
himself in a position to get another dig." 

"Is Carnes in?" 

"Yes. And was badly cut. 


" Poor fellow ! I'm sorry for that, but glad of the chance 
to see him; he's been on a long cruise." 

" Well, I'm not so sure about his going on another. Now 

And the doctor applied himself to business, and I sat, 
wincing sometimes, under his hand, but thinking through it 
all of Games. 

He was the comique of the force ; a man who was either 
loved or hated by all who knew him. Xo one could be 
simply indifferent to Carnes. He was a well-educated man, 
although he habitually .spoke with a brogue. But I knew 
Carnes was not an Irishman ; although he professed to have 
"hailed from Erin," he could drop the accent at pleasure 
and assume any other with perfect ease, a feat rather 
difficult of accomplishment by a genuine Irishman. 

Nobody knew much about Carnes; he had no confidants, 
although he had his favorites, one of whom I chanced to be. 

He was older than myself by ten years, but when the 
mood seized him, could be younger by twenty. He had 
been absent from the office for nearly a year, and I mentally 
resolved that, after making my report and attending to 
business, I would lose no time in seeing him. 

Under the skilled hand of Dr. Denham my arm was 
soon dressed and made comfortable. It would be well in 
a fortnight, the good doctor assured me, and then as soon as 
I could, I withdrew from his presence and his customary 
fire of raillery and questions, and stopping only to refresh 


myself at a restaurant by the way, hastened on toward our 
office, where I was soon closeted with my Chief. 

As usual, he made no comments, asked no questions, 
when I dawned upon him thus unexpectedly. He never 
made use of unnecessary words. He only turned out one 
or two of the force who- were lounging there, waiting his 
pleasure to attend to less important business, saw that the 
doors were closed and the outer office properly attended, 
and then seating himself opposite me at the desk, said 

"Xow, Bathurst?" 

I was well accustomed to this condensed way of doing 
things, and it suited me. In a concise manner matching 
his own, I put him in possession of the facts relating to the 
Groveland case, and then I made a discovery. After re- 
lating how I had received the anonymous letter I produced 
my pocket-book, where I supposed it to be, and found it 
missing! It was useless to search; the letter was not in 
my pocket-book, neither was it on my person. 

"Well !" I said, when fully convinced that the letter was 
certainly not in my possession, "here's another complica- 
tion. I've been robbed and I know who did it !" 

My companion made no comment, and I continued : 

"The letter was of no vital importance; I will finish my 
story and then you will know what has become of it." 

I told the rest ; of my ride upon Mrs. Ballou's colt, of 
the pistol shot, my runaway steed, and my subsequent in- 


lerview with Mrs. Ballon. How she had dressed my wound, 
how the circumstances had compelled me to confide in her, 
and how she had risen to the occasion, and driven me to 
the station at half-past three in the morning, and 1 finished 
by saying: 

" Now it looks to me as if Mrs. Ballon had stolen my 
letter, and if so, one might take that fact and the one that 
Nellie Ewing was never seen after leaving her house, and 
count it as strong circumstantial evidence; but, that kind 

* o * * 

of evidence won't convince me that Mrs. Ballon is impli- 
cated in the crime or the mystery. AVhen 1 told her of the 
printed letter, I saw her eyes gleam; and when she asked 
to see the document I read anxiety in her face. I am siite 
she took the letter, and I think she has a suspicion of some 
sort; but if she has the letter she will return it." 

My chief made no comment on all that I had told him; 
he picked up a paper weight and laid it down again with 
great precision, then he put all my story "on the shelf," 
as we were wont to express it, by asking abruptly: 

"What are you going to do next?" 

The question did not surprise me. He was not in the 
habit of offering much advice to such operatives as he 
trusted with delicate cases, for he never trusted a man until 
he felt full confidence in his skill and integrity. But 
when we desired to consult with him, he entered into the 
study of the case with animation and zeal ; and then, and 
then only, did he do a full share of the talking. 


" Going to send them a 'dummy/ if we can find one with 
the grit to face the chances. They must suppose me en- 
tirely out of the business." 

" Yes." 

"I want an extraordinary dummy, too; a blusterer." 

" Wait," interrupted my companion, beginning to smile, 
"I have got just the animal. When do you want to see 
him ?" 

"As soon as possible; I want him in the field at 

"Very good. This fellow came here yesterday, and 
he's the greatest combination of fool and egotist I ever 
saw. Knows he was born for a detective and is ready to 
face a colony of desperadoes; there is no limit to his cheek 
and no end to his tongue. If you want a talkative fool 
he'll do." 

"Well," I replied, " that's what I want, but the man 
must not be quite destitute of courage. I don't think that 
the party or parties will make another attack upon a fresh 
man, and yet they may; and this dummy must remain 
there quite alone until the rascals are convinced that he has 
no confederates. There is a keen brain at the bottom of 
this Groveland mischief. I mean to overreach it and all 
its confederates, for I believe there must be confederates; 
and, sir, I don't believe those girls have been murdered." 


"No. But I want our dummy to act on the supposition 


that they have been. This will ease the vigilance of the 
guilty parties, and when they are off their guard, our time 
will come. AVhere is Carnes?" 

My companion was in full sympathy with my abrupt 
change of the subject, and he answered, readily: 

"At his old rooms. Carues had a bad cut, but he is 
getting along finely." 

"Is he? The doctor gave me the idea that he was still 
in a doubtful condition." 

"Stuff," giving a short laugh, "some of his scarey talk; 
he told me that Carnes would be about within two weeks. 
Carnes did some good work in the West." 

"He is a splendid fellow; I must see him to-night. 
But about our dummy: when can you produce him?" 

"Will to-morrow do? say ten o'clock." 

" It must be later by an hour; the doctor takes me in hand 
at ten." 

"Eleven, then. I will have him here, and you'll find 
him a jewel." 

"Very good," I said, rising, and taking up my hat, 
"any message to send to Carnes? I shall see him to- 

"Look here," turning upon me suddenly, "you are not 
to go to Carnes for any purpose but to see him. You must 
not talk to him much, nor let him talk; the doctor should 
have told you that. He is weak, and easily excited. It's 
bad enough to have two of my best men crippled and off at 


once ; you must not retard his recovery. Carnes is as unruly 
as a ten-year old, now." 

I laughed; I could see just how this whimsical comrade 
of mine would chafe under his temporary imprisonment. 

" I won't upset the old fellow," F .-aid. and took my leave. 
4 *3 




Over the minor events of my story I will not linger, for 
although they cannot be omitted altogether, they are still 
so overshadowed by startling and thrilling after events that 
they may, with propriety, be narrated in brief. 

I saw Carnes, and found that the Chief had not exag- 
gerated, and that the doctor had. 

Carnes was getting well very fast, but was chafing like 
a caged bear, if I may use so ancient an illustration. 

We compared notes and sympathized with each other, 
and then we made some plans. Of course we were off duty 
for the present, and could be our own masters. Carnes 
had been operating in a western city, and I proposed to him 
a change. I told him of the conversation I had overheard 
that morning, and soon had him as much interested in 
Trafton as was myself. Then I said : 

" Now, old man, why not run down to that little paradise 
of freebooters and see what we think of it ?" 

"Begorra and that'll jist suit me case," cried Carnes, who 
was just then in his Hibernian mood. "And it's go we 
will widen the wake." 

But go "widen the wake" we did not. 

"Now, old man, why not run down to that little paradise of 
freebooters and see what we think of it?" pace 50. 



We were forced to curb our impatience somewhat, for 
Carnes needed a little more strength, and my arm must be 
free from Dr. Denham's sling. 

We were to go as Summer strollers, and, in order to come 
more naturally into contact with different classes of the 
Traftonites, I assumed the role of a well-to-do Gothamite 
with a taste for rural Summer sports, and Carnes made a 
happy hit in choosing the character of half companion, half 
servant; resolving himself into a whole Irishman for the 

It was a fancy of his always to operate in disguise, so for 
this reason, and because of his pallor, and the unusual length 
of his hair and beard, he chose to take his holiday en 
naturale, and most unnatural he looked to me, who had 
never seen him in ill-health. 

As for me, I preferred on this occasion to adopt a light 

In spite of the warning of our Chief, but not in defiance 
of it, I talked Carnes into a fidget, and even worked my- 
self into a state of enthusiasm. Of course I made no men- 
tion of the Groveland case; we never discussed our private 
operations with each other; at least, not until they were 
finished and the finale a foregone conclusion. 

After bidding Carnes good-night, I sauntered leisurely 
homeward, if a hotel may be called home, and the ring of 
a horse's hoofs on the pavement brought to my mind my 
wild ride, Groveland, and Mrs. Eallou. 


Why had she stolen that letter of warning? That she 
had I felt assured. Did she give her true reason for wishing 
my revolver? Would she return my letter? And would 
she, after all, keep the secret of my identity? 

I did not flatter myself that I was the wonderful judge of 
human nature some people think themselves, but I did be- 
lieve myself able to judge between honest and dishonest 
faces, and I had judged Mrs. Ballon as honest. 

So after a little I was able to answer my own questions. 
She would return my letter. She could keep a secret, and 
she would make good use, if any, of my weapon. 

It was not long before my judgment of Mrs. Ballon, in 
one particular at least, was verified. 

On the morning after my interview with Carnes, I saw 
the man who was destined to cover himself with glory in 
the capacity of " Dummy," and here a w r ord of explanation 
may be necessary. 

Sometimes, not often, it becomes expedient, if not ab- 
solutely necessary, for a detective to work under a double 
guard. It is not always enough that others should not 
know him as a detective ; it is required that they should be 
doubly deluded by fancying themselves aware of who is, 
hence the dummy. 

But in this narrative I shall speak in brief of the 
dummy's operations. Suffice it to say that lie was just 
the man for the place; egotistical, ignorant, talkative 
to a fault- and thoroughly imbued, as all dummies should 


be, with the idea that he was "born for a detective." 
Of course he was not aware of the part he was actually 
to play. He was instructed as to the nature of the case, 
given such points as we thought he would make best use 
of, and told in full just what risk he might run. 

But our dummy was no coward. He inspected my 
wounded arm, expressed himself more than ready to take 
any risk, promised to keep within the bounds of safety 
after nightfall, and panted to be in the field. 

Just one day before our departure for Trafton I received 
a letter from Mrs. Ballon. Enclosed with it was my lost 
note of warning. Its contents puzzled me not a little. It 
ran thus: 

DEAR SIR I return you the letter I took from your pocket the 
morning you left us. You did not suspect me of burglary, did you? 
Of course you guessed the truth when you came to miss it. I 
thought it might help me to a clue, but was wrong. / can not 
use it. 

If anything new or strange occurs, it may be to your interest to 
inform me first of all. 

The time may come when you can doubly repay the service I 
rendered you not long since. If so, remember me. I think I shall 
come to the city soon. 

Respectfully, etc., M. A. BALLOT; 

P. S. Please destroy. 

From some women such a letter might have meant 
simply nothing. From Mrs. Ballou it was fraught with 


How coolly she waived the ceremony of apology ! She 
wanted the letter she took it ; a mere matter of course. 

And as a matter of course, she returned it. 

Thus much of the letter was straight-forward, and 
suited me well enough ; but 

"/ thought it might help me to a clue, but teas wrong. I 


Over these words I pondered, and then I connected 
them with the remainder of the letter. Mrs. Ballon was 
clever, but she was no diplomatist. She had put a thread 
in my hands. 

I made some marks in a little memorandum book, that 
would have been called anything but intelligible to the 
average mortal, but that were very plain language to my 
eye, and to none other. Next I put a certain bit of in- 
formation in the hands of my Chief; then I turned my 
face toward Trafton. 

To my readers the connection between the fate of the 
two missing girls, and the mysterious doings at Trafton, 
may seem slight. 

To my mind, as we set out that day for the scene of a 
new operation, there seemed nothing to connect the two; 
I was simply, as I thought, for the time being, laying down 
one thread to take up another. 

A detective has not the gift of second sight, and without 
this gift how was I to know that at Trafton I was to find 
my clue to the Groveland mystery, and that that mystery 


was in its turn to shed a light upon the dark doings of 
Trafton, and aid justice in her work of requital? 

So it is. Out of threads, divers and far-fetched, Fate 
loves to weave her wonderful webs. 

And now, for a time, we leave Groveland with the 
shadow upon it. We leave the shadow now ; later it comes 
to us. 

For the present we are en route for Trafton. 




"Trafton?" said Jim Long, more familiarly known as 
Long Jim, scratching his head reflectively, "can't remem- 
ber just how long I did live in Trafton ; good sight 
longer'n I'll live in it any more, I calk late ; green, oh, 
drctfnl green, when I come here; in fact mem'ry had'nt 
de-welluped; wasn't peart then like lam now. But I 
ain't got nothin' to say agin' Trafton, /ain't, tho' there be 
some folks as has. Thar's Knrnel Brookhouse, now, he's bin 
scalped severial times ; then thar's hello !" 

Jim brought his rhetoric up standing, and lowered one 
leg hastily off the fence, where he had been balancing like 
a Chinese juggler. 

At the same moment a fine chestnut horse dashed around 
a curve of the road, bear ing a woman, who rode with a free 
rein, and sat as if born to the saddle. She favored Jim 
with a friendly nod as she flew past, and that worthy re- 
sponded with a delighted grin and no other sign of recog- 

When she had disappeared among the trees, and the 
horse's hoofs could scarcely be heard on the hard dry road, 


Jim drew up his leg, resumed his former balance, and went 
on as if nothing had happened. 

" There was Kurnel Brookhouse and " 

"The mischief fly away wid old Brookhouse," broke in 
Carncs, giving the fence a shake that nearly unseated our 
juggler. "'Who's the purty girl as bowed till yee's? 
That's the question on board now." 

"Look here, Mr. Ireland," expostulated Jim, getting 
slowly off the fence backward, and affecting great timidity 
in so doing, "ye shouldn't shake a chap that way when 
he's practisin' jimnasti what's its name? It's awful un- 

And he assured himself that his two feet were actually 
on terra, firma before he relinquished his hold upon the 
top rail of the fence. Then turning toward Games he 
asked, with a most insinuating smile : 

"Wasn't you askin' something?" 

"That's jist what I was, by the powers," cried Carnes, 
as if his fate hung upon the answer. " Who is the leddy ? 
be dacent, now." 

We had been some two weeks in Trafton when this 
dialogue occurred, and Jim Long was one of our first ac- 
quaintances. Carnes had picked him up somewhere about 
town; and the two had grown quite friendly and intimate. 

Long was a character in the eyes of Carnes, and was 
gradually developing into a genius in mine. Jim was, to 
all outward appearances, the personification of laziness, 


candor, good nature, and a species of blundering waggish- 
ness; but as I grew to know him better, I learned to respect 
the irony under his innocent looks and boorish speeches, 
and I soon found that he possessed a faculty, and a fond- 
ness, for baffling and annoying Game's, that delighted me; 
for Games was, like most indefatigible jokers, rather non- 
plussed at having the tables turned. 

Jim never did anything for a livelihood that could be 
discovered, but he called himself a "Hoss Fysician," and 
indeed it was said that he could always be trusted with a 
horse, if he could be induced to look at one. But he had 
his likes and dislikes, so he said, and he would obstinately 
refuse to treat a horse toward which he had what he called 
" onfriendly feelin's." 

Jim could tell us all there was to tell concerning the 
town of Trafton. It was only necessary to set him going; 
and no story lost anything of spirit through being told 
by him. 

He was an oracle on the subjects of fishing and hunting; 
indeed, he was usually to be found in the companionship of 
gun or fishing rod. 

Fortunately for us, Trafton had rare facilities for sports 
of the aforementioned sort, and we gathered up many small 
items while, in the society of Long Jim, we scrambled 
through copses, gun in hand, or whipped the streams, and 
listened to the heterogenous mass of information that flowed 
from his ready tongue. 

"Look here, Mr. Ireland," expostulated Jim, "ye shouldn't 
shake a chap that way." page 59. 



But the spirit of gossip was not always present with Jim. 
Sometimes he was in an argumentative mood, and then 
would ensue the most astounding discussions between him- 
self and Carnes. Sometimes he was full of theology, and 
then his discourse would have enraptured Swing, and out- 
Heroded Ingersoll, for his theology varied with his moods. 
Sometimes he was given to moralizing, and then Carnes 
was in despair. 

Jim lived alone in a little house, or more properly, 
"cabin," something more than a mile from town. He 
had a small piece of ground which he called his " farm," 
and all his slight amount of industry was expended 
on this. 

"Who is the leddy, I tell yee's?" roared Carnes, who, I 
may as well state here, had introduced himself to the 
Traftonites as Barney Cooley. "Bedad, a body would 
think she was your first shwateheart by the dumbness av 

"And so she air," retorted Jim with much solemnity. 
"Don't you go ter presoomin', Mr. Ireland. That are Miss 
Manvers, as lives in the house that's just a notch bigger'n 
Kurnel Brookhouse's ; and her father was Captain Man- 
vers, as went down in the good ship Amy Audrey, and left 
his darter that big house, and a bigger fortune dug out 'en 
a treasure-ship on the coast uv " 

" Stop a bit, long legs," interposed Carnes, or Barney, as 
we had better call him, " was it a threasure-ship yee's wur 


hatch in' when it tuck yee's so long to shun out yer little 

"Well, then, Erin, tell your own stories, that's all. If 
yer wan't ter kick over one uv the institooshuns uv Trafton, 
why, wade in." 

But Games only shook his head, and lying at full length 
upon the ground feigning great pain, groaned at intervals : 

" Oh ! h ! h ! threasure-ship !" 

" But, Long," I interposed, " does this young lady, this 
Miss Mauvers, sanction the story of a treasure from the 
deep, or is it only a flying rumor?" 

"It'sflyin' enough," retorted Jim, soberly. "It's in 
everybody's mouth ; that is, everybody as has an appetite 
for flyin' rumors. And I never knew of the lady con- 
tradictin' it, nuther. The facks is jest these, boss. There's 
Miss Manvers, and there's the big house, and the blooded 
horses, an' all the other fine things that I couldn't begin 
to interduce by their right names. They're facts, as any- 
body can see. There seems to be plenty o' money backin' 
the big house an' other big fixiiis, an' / ain't agoiu' to be 
oudacious enough ter say there ain't a big treasure-ship 
backin 7 up the whole business. Now, I ain't never seen 
'em, an' I ain't never seen anyone as has, not bein' much 
of a society man ; but folks say as Miss Manvers has got 
the most wonderfullest things dug out o' that ship; old 
coins, heaps of 'em ; jewels an' aunteeks, as they call 'em, 
that don't hardly ever see daylight. One thing's certain : 


old Manvers come here most six years ago; he dressed, 
looked, and talked like a sailor; he bought the big house, 
fitted it up, an' left his daughter in it. Then he went away 
and got drowned. They say he made his fortune at sea, 
and it's pretty sartin that he brought some wonderful things 
home from the briny. Mebbe you had better go up to the 
Hill, that's Miss Manvers' place, and interduce yourself, 
and ask for the family history, Mr. 'Exile of Erin,' " con- 
cluded Jim, with a grin intended to be sarcastic, as he seated 
himself 011 a half decayed stum}), and prepared to fill his 

"Bedad, an' so I will, Long Jim," cried Barney, spring- 
ing up with alacrity. u An' thank ye kindly for mintiouin' 
it. "When will I find the leddy at home, then?" 

Parti) to avert the tournament which I saw was about 
to break out afresh between the two, and partly through 
interest in the fair owner of the treasure-ship spoils, I in- 
terposed once more. 

" Miss Manvers must be a fair target for fortune-hunters, 
Long; are there any such in Trafton?" 

" Wall, now, that's what some folks says, tho' I ain't goin' 
ter lay myself liable tei an action fer slander. There's lovers 
enough ; it ain't easy tellin' jest what they air after. There's 
young Mr. Brookhousc; now, his pa's rich enough ; he ain't 

no call to go fortin huntin' There's a lawyer from G , 

too, and a young 'Piscopal parson ; then there's our new 
young doctor. I ain't hcarn anyone say anythin* about 



him; but I've seen 'em together, and I makebold ter say 
that he's anuther on 'em. Seen the young doctor, ain't 
ye?" turning to me suddenly with ;he last question. 

"Yes," I replied, carelessly ; "he dines at the hotel." 

"Just so, and keeps his own lodgin' house in that little 
smit on a cottage across the creek on the Brookhouse farm 

"Oh, does he?" 

" Yes. Queer place for a doctor, some think, but bless 
you, it's as central as any, when you come ter look. Traf- 
ton ain't got any heart, like most towns; you can't tell where 
the middle of it is. It's as crook id as its reputation." 

Not desiring to appear over anxious concerning the 
reputation of Trafton, I continued my queries about the 

"He's new to Trafton, I think you said?" 

"Yes, bran new; too new. We don't like new things, 
we don't; have to learn 'em afore we like 'em. We don't 
like the new doctor like we orter." 

" We, Long? Don't you like Dr. Bethel ?" 

" Well, speakin' as an individual, I like him fust rate. 
I wuz speakin' as a good citizen, ye see ; kind o' identify-in' 
myself with the common pulse," with an oratorical 

" Oh, I do see," I responded, laughingly. 

"Yis, we see!" broke in Barney, who had bridled his 
tongue all too long for his own comfort. " He's run n in' 


fur office, is Jim; he's afther wantin' to be alderman." 

" Ireland," retorted Long, in a tone of lofty admonition, 
" we're talkin' sense, wot nobody expects ye to understand. 
Hold yer gab, won't yer ?" 

Thus admonished, Barney relapsed into silence, and Jim, 
who was now fairly launched, resumed: 

" Firstly," said he, " thedoctor's a leetle too good lookin', 
don't you think so ?" 

" Why, he is handsome, certainly, but it's in a mas- 
sive way; he is not effeminate enough to be too hand- 

"That's it," replied Long, disparagingly; "he ain't our 
style. Our style is curled locks, cuimin' little moustachys, 
little hands and feet, and slim waists. Our style is more 
ruffles to the square futof shirt front, and more chains and 
rings than this inteilopin' doctor wears." 

" Our sthylc ! Och, murther, hear him !" groaned 
Carnes, in a stage aside. . 

" His manners ain't our style, nuther," went on Long, 
lugubriously. " We always has a bow and a smile fur all, 
rich an poor alike, exceptin' now and then a no count per- 
son what there's no need uv wastin' politeness on. He 
goes along head up, independenter nor Fouth o' July. He 
don't make no distiiicshun between folks an' folks, like a 
man orter. I've seen him bow jist the same bow to old 
Granny Sanders, as lives down at the poor farm, and to 
Parson Radcliffe, our biggest preachin' gun. Now, that's 


no way fer a man ter do as wants ter live happy in Traf- 
ton; it ain't our way." 

A mighty groan from Barney. 

" He's got a practice, though," went on Jim, utterly ig- 
noring the apparent misery of his would-be tormentor. 
"Somehow he manages to cure folks as some of our old 
doctors can't. I reckon a change o' physic's good fer folks, 
same's a change o' diet " 

" Or a clane shirt," broke in Games, with an insinuating 
glance in the direction of Jim's rather dingy linen. 

"Eggsackly," retorted Long, turning back his cuffs with 
great care and glancing menacingly at his enemy " er a 

"Gentlemen," I interposed, "let us have peace. And 
tell me, Jim, where may we find your model Traftonite, 
your hero of the curls, moustaches, dainty hands, and dis- 
criminating politeness? I have not seen him." 

"AVhar?" retorted Long, in an aggrieved tone, "look 
here, boss, you don't think /ever mean anythin' personal 
by my remarks? I'd sworn it were all that way when you 
come ter notice. The average Traftonite's the sleekest, 
pertiest chap on earth. We wuz born so." 

Some more demonstrations in pantomime from Games, 
and silence fell upon us. I knew from the way Long 
smoked at his pipe and glowered at Games that nothing 
more in the way of information need be expected from him. 
He had said enough, or too much, or something he had not 


intended to say ; he looked dissatisfied, and soon \ve sepa- 
rated, Long repairing to his farm, and Carnes and I to our 
hotel, all in search of dinner. 

"We won't have much trouble in finding the ' Average 
Traftonite/ old man," I said, as we sauntered back to town. 

No answer; Carnes was smoking a huge black pipe and 
gazing thoughtfully on the ground. 

" I wonder if any attempt has been made to rob Miss 
Manvers of those treasure-ship jewels," I ventured next. 


"Or of her blooded horses. Carnes, what's your opin- 
ion of Long?" 

Carnes took his pipe from his mouth and turned upon 
me two serious eyes. When I saw the expression in them 
I knew he was ready to talk business. 

"Honor bright?" he queried, without a trace of his 
Irish accent. 

"Honor bright." 


"Well," restoring his pipe and puffing out a black cloud, 
"he's an odd fish!" 


"He's a fraud!" 

"As how?" 

"Cute, keen, has played the fool so long he sometimes 
believes himself one. Did you notice any little discrep- 
ancies in his speech? 

"Well, rather." 


"Nobody else ever would, I'll be bound ; not the 
'Average Traftonite,' at least. That man has not always 
been at odds with the English grammar, mark me. "What 
do you think, Bathurst ?" 

" I think," responded I, soberly, " that we shall find in 
him an ally or an enemy." 

We had been sauntering " across lots," over some of the 
Brookhouse acres, and we now struck into a path leading 
down to the highway, that brought us out just opposite the 
cottage occupied by Dr. Bethel. 

As we approached, the doctor was leaning over the gate 
in conversation with a gentleman seated in a light road 
wagon, whose face was turned away from us. 

As we came near he turned his head, favoring us with 
a careless glance, and, as I saw his face, I recognized him 
as the handsome young gallant who had attended the friend 
of Miss Grace Ballon, on the occasion of that friend's visit 
to the Ballou farm, and who had bidden the ladies such an 
impressive good-bye as I drove them away from the vil- 
lage station. 

Contrary to my first intention I approached the gate, 
and as I drew near, the young man gathered up his reins 
and nodding to the doctor drove away. 

Dr. Bethel and myself had exchanged civilities at our 
hotel, and I addressed him in a careless way as I paused 
at the gate. 

"That's a fine stepping horse, doctor," nodding after 


the receding turn-out; u is it owned in the town?" 
"Yes," replied the doctor; "that is young Brookhouse, 
or rather one of them. There are two or three sons; they 
all drive fine stock." 

I was passing in the town for a well-to-do city young 
man with sporting propensities, and as the doctor swung 
open the gate and strode beside me toward the hotel, 
Carnes trudging on in advance, the talk turned quite 
naturally upon horses, and horse owners. 

That night I wrote to Mrs. Ballon, stating that I had 
nothing of much moment to impart, but desired that she 
would notify me several days in advance of her proposed 
visit to the city, as I wished to moot her. This letter I 
sent to our office to be forwarded to Grovelaud from thence. 




"We had not been long in Trafton before our reputation 
as thoroughly good fellows was well established, " each man 
after his kind." 

Carnes entered with zest into the part he had undertaken. 
He was hail fellow well met with every old bummer and 
corner loafer; he made himself acquainted with all the gos- 
sippers and possessed of all the gossip of the town. 

After a little he began to grow somewhat unsteady in his 
habits, and under the influence of too much liquor, would 
occasionally make remarks, disparaging or otherwise as 
the occasion warranted, concerning me, and so it came about 
that I was believed to be a young man of wealth, the pos- 
sessor of an irascible temper, but very generous; the victim 
of a woman's falseness ; but here Carnes always assured 
people that he did not know "the particulars," and that, if 
it came to my ears that he had "mentioned" it, it would cost 
him his place, etc. 

These scraps of private history were always brought for- 
ward by, or drawn out of, him when he was supposed to 
be "the worse for liquor." In his "sober" moments he was 
discreetness itself. 


So adroitly did he play his part that, without knowing 
how it came about, Trafton had accepted me at Games' 
standard, and I found my way made smooth, and myself 
considered a desirable acquisition to Trafton society. 

I became acquainted with the lawyers, the ministers, the 
county officials, for Trafton was the county seat. I was 
soon on a social footing with the Brookhouses, father and 
son. I made my bow before the fair owner of the treasure- 
ship jewels; and began to feel a genuine interest in, and 
liking for, Dr. Bethel, who, according to Jim Long, was 
not Trafton style. 

Thus fairly launched upon the Trafton tide, and having 
assured ourselves that no one entertained a suspicion of our 
masquerade, we began to look more diligently about us for 
fresh information concerning the depredations that had made 
the town attractive to us. 

Sitting together one night, after Carnes had spent the 
evening at an especially objectionable saloon, and I had re- 
turned from a small social gathering whither I had been 
piloted by one of my new acquaintances, we began "taking 
account of stock," as Carnes quaintly put it. 

"The question now arises," said Carnes, dropping his 
Hibernianisms, and taking them up again as his enthu- 
siasm waxed or waned. "The question is this: What's in 
our hand ? What do wee's know ? What do wee's sur- 
mise, and what have wee's got till find out?" 

"Very comprehensively put, old fellow," I laughed, 



while I referred to a previously mentioned note book. 
" First, then, what do we know ?" 

"Well," replied Carnes, tilting back his chair, "we 
know more than mony a poor fellow has known when he 
set out to work up a knotty case. We know we are in the 
field, bedad. We know that horses have been stolen, houses 
broken open, robberies great and small committed here. 
We know they have been well planned and systematic, en- 
gineered by a cute head." 

Carnes stopped abruptly, and looked over as if he ex- 
pected me to finish the summing up. 

"Yes," I replied, "we knew all that in the beginning; 
now for what we have picked up. First, then, just run 
your eye over this memorandum; I made it out to-day, and, 
like a love letter, it should be destroyed as soon as read. 
Here you have, as near as I could get them, the names of 
the farmers who have lost horses, harness, buggies, etc. 
Here is the average distance of their respective residences 
from the town, and their directions. Bo you see the 

Carnes rubbed the bridge of his nose ; a favorite habit. 

"No, be the powers," he ejaculated ; "St. Patrick him- 
self couldn't see the sinse o' that." 

" Very good. Now, here is a map of this county. On 
this map, one by one, you must locate those farms." 

"Bother the location," broke in Carnes, impatiently. 
"Serve it up in a nutshell. What's the point?" 


" The point, then, is this," drawing the map toward me. 
"The places where these robberies have been committed, 
are all in certain directions. Look; east, northeast, west, 
north ; scarce one south, southeast, or southwest. Hence, 
I conclude that these stolen horses are run into some ren- 
dezvous that is not more than a five hours' ride from the 
scene of the theft." 

" The dickens ye do!" muttered Carnes, under his breath. 

"Again," I resumed, perceiving that Carnes was be- 
coming deeply interested, and very alert, " the horses, etc., 
have been stolen from points ten, twelve, twenty miles, 
from Trafton ; the most distant, so far as I have found out, 
is twenty-two miles." 

"Ar-m-m-m?" from Carnes. 

"Now, then, let us suppose the robbers to be living in 
this town. They leave here at nine, ten, or later when the 
distance is short. They ride fleet horses. At midnight, 
let us say, the robbery is committed. The horses must be 
off the road, and safe from prying eyes, before morning, 
and must remain perdu until the search is over. What, 
then ? The question is, do the robbers turn them over to 
confederates, in order to get safely back to the town under 
cover of the night ; or, is the hiding-place so near that no 
change is necessary ?" 

I paused for a comment, but Carnes sat mute. 

"Now, then," I resumed, "I am supposing this lair of 
horse-thieves to be somewhere south, or nearly south, of 


the town, and not more than thirty miles distant." 

" Umph !" 

"I suppose it to be south, or nearly south, for obvious 
reasons. Don't you see what they are?" 

" Niver mind ; prache on." 

" No horses have been taken from the south road, or 
from any of the roads that intersect it from this. I infer 
that it is used as an avenue of escape for the marauding 
bands. Consequently " 

" We must make the acquaintance of that north and 
south highway," broke in Carnes. 

"Just so; and we must begin a systematic search from 
this out," 

" System's the word," said Carnes, jerking his chair close 
to the table, upon which he planted his elbows. " Now, 
then, let's organize." 

It was nearly day-break before we knocked the ashes 
from our pipes, preparatory to closing the consultation, and 
when we separated to refresh ourselves with a few hours' 
sleep, we were so thoroughly "organized" that had we not 
found another opportunity for private consultation during 
our operations in Trafton, we could still have gone on with 
the programme, as we had that night arranged it, without 
fear of blunder or misunderstanding. 

" You came down upon me so sudden and solemn with 
your statistics and all that, last night," said Carnes, the 

" System's the word," said Games, jerking his chair close to 
the table, upon winch he planted his elbows. "Now, iben, let's 
organize." page 76. 



following morning, " that I entirely forgot to treat you to 
a beautiful little Trafton vagary I was saving for your 
benefit. They do say that the new doctor is suspected of 
being a detective!" 

" What!" I said, in sincere amazement; " Games, that's 
one of Jim Long's notions." 

"Yis, but it isn't," retorted Carnes. "I haven't seen 
Jim Long this day. D'ye mind the chap ye seen me in 
company with last evening early?" 

" The loutish chap with red hair and a scarred cheek ?" 

"That's him; well, his name is Tom Briggs, and he's 
a very close-mouthed fellow when he's sober ; to-day he 
was drunk, and he told me in confidence that some folks 
looked upon Dr. Bethel as nothing more nor less than a 
detective, on the lookout for a big haul and a big reward." 

"What is this Briggs?" 

" He's a sort of a roust-about for 'Squire Brookhouse, 
but the 'squire don't appear to work him very hard." 

" Carnes," I said, after a moment of silence between us, 
"hadn't you better cultivate Briggs?" 

" Like enough I had," he replied, nonchalantly. Then 
turning slowly until he faced me squarely " If I were you, 
I would give a little attention to Dr. Bethel" 




Two weeks passed, during which time Carnes and I 
worked slowly and cautiously, but to some purpose. 

Having arrived at the conclusion that here was the place 
to begin our search for the robbers, we had still failed in 
finding in or about Trafton a single man upon whom to 
fix suspicion. 

After thoroughly analyzing Trafton society, high and 
low, I was obliged to admit to Carnes, 'spite of the statement 
made by the worthy farmer on board the railway train that 
" the folks as prospered best were those who did the least 
work," that I found among the poor, the indolent and the 
idle, no man capable of conducting or aiding in a prolonged 
series of high-handed robberies. 

The only people in Trafton about whom there seemed 
the shadow of strangeness or mystery, were Dr. Bethel and 
Jim Long. 

Dr. Bethel had lived in Trafton less than a year ; he was 
building up a fine practice; was dignified, independent, 
uncommunicative. He had no intimates, and no one 
knew, or could learn, aught of his past history. He was a 


regularly authorized physician, a graduate from a well- 
known and reliable school. He was unmarried and seemed 
quite independent of his practice as a means of support. 

According to Jim Long, he was "not Trafton style," 
and if Tom Briggs was to be believed, he was "suspected" 
of making one profession a cloak for the practice of an- 

Jim Long had been nearly five years in Trafton. He 
had bought his bit of land, built thereon his shanty, an- 
nounced himself as "Hoss Fysician," and had loafed or 
laughed, smoked or fished, hunted, worked and played, as 
best pleased him; and no one in Trafton had looked upon 
him as worthy of suspicion, until Carries and I did him 
that honor. 

Up to this time we had never once ventured to walk or 
drive over that suspected south road. This was not 
an accident or an oversight, but a part of our "pro- 

We had lived and operated so quietly that Carnes began 
to complain of the monotony of our daily lives, and to long, 
Micawber-like, for something to turn up. 

"We had both fully recovered in health and vigor ; and I 
was beginning to fear that we might be compelled to report 
at the agency, and turn our backs upon Trafton without 
having touched its mystery, when there broke upon us the 
first ripple that was the harbinger of a swift, ourushing tide 
of events, which, sweeping across the monotony of our days, 


Caught us and tossed us to and fro, leaving us no moment 
of rest until the storm had passed, and the waves that rolled 
over Trafton had swept away its scourge. 

One August day I received a tiny perfumed note bidding 
me attend a garden party, to be given by Miss Manvers 
one week from date. As I was writing my note of ac- 
ceptance, Carues suggested that I, as a gentleman of means, 
should honor this occasion by appearing in the latest and 
most stunning of Summer suits ; and I, knowing the effect 
of fine apparel upon the ordinary society-loving villager, 
decided to profit by his suggestions. So, having scaled and 
despatched my missive, I bent my steps toward the tele- 
graph office, intent upon sending an order to my tailor by 
the quickest route. 

The operator was a sociable young fellow, the son of one 
of the village clergymen, and I sometimes dropped in upon 
him for a few moments' chat. 

I numbered among my varied accomplishments, all of 
which had been acquired for use in my profession, the 
ability to read, by sound, the telegraph instrument. 

This knowledge, however, I kept to myself, on principle, 
and young Harris was not aware that my ear was drink ing 
in his messages, as we sat smoking socially in his little 
operating compartment. 

After sending my message, I produced my cigar case 
and, Harris accepting a weed, I sat down beside him for a 
brief chat. 


Presently the instrument called Trafton, and Harris 
turned to receive the following message : 


ARCH BROOKHOUSE Hurry up the others or we are likely to have 
a balk. F. B. 

Hastily scratching off these words Harris enclosed, 
sealed, and addressed the message, and tossed it on the 

The address was directly under my eye; and I said, 
glancing carelessly at it: 

" Arch, is not that a rather juvenile name for such a 
long, lean, solemn-visaged man as 'Squire Brookhouse?" 

Harris laughed. 

" That is for the son," he replied ; " he is named for his 
father, and to distinguish between them, the elder always 
signs himself Archibald, the younger Arch." 

" I see. Is Archibald Junior the eldest son ?" 

" Xo ; he is the second. Fred is older by four years." 

"Fred is the absent one ?" 

"Fred and Louis are both away now. Fred is in busi- 
ness in New Orleans, I think." 

"Ah! an enterprising rich man's son." 

"Well, yes, enterprising and adventurous. Fred used to 
be a trifle wild. He's engaged in some sort of theatrical 
enterprise, I take it." 

Just then there came the sound of hurrying feet and 
voices mingling in excited converse. 


In another moment Mr. Harris, the elder, put his head 
in at the open window. 

"Charlie, telegraph to Mr. Beale at Swan Station; tell 
him to come home instantly ; his little daughter's grave 
has been robbed !" 

Uttering a startled ejaculation, young Harris turned to 
his instrument, and his father withdrew his head and came 
around to the office door. 

" Good-morning," he said to me, seating himself upon a 
corner of the office desk. "This is a shameful affair, sir; 
the worst that has happened in Trafton, to my mind. 
Only yesterday I officiated at the funeral of the little one; 
she was only seven years old, and looked like a sleeping 
angel, and now " 

He paused and wiped the perspiration from his fore- 

"Mrs. Beale will be distracted," said Charlie Harris, 
turning toward us. " It was her only girl." 

"Beale is a mechanic, you see," said the elder, addressing 
me. " He is working upon some new buildings at Swan 

"How was it discovered?" said his son. 

" I hardly know ; they sent for me to break the news 
to Mrs. Beale, and I thought it best to send for Beale first. 
The town is working into a terrible commotion over it." 

Just here a number of excited Traftonites entered the 
outer room and called out Mr. Harris. 


A moment later I saw Carnes pass the window ; he 
moved slowly, and did not turn his head, but I knew at 
once that he wished to see me. I arose quietly and went 
out. Passing through the group of men gathered about 
Mr. Harris, I caught these words : " Cursed resurrection- 
ist/' and, " I knew he was not the man for us." 

Hurrying out I met Carnes at the corner of the building. 

" Have you heard " he began ; but I interrupted him. 

"Of the grave robbery? Yes." 

"Well," said Carnes, laying a hand upon my arm, 
" they arc organizing a gang down at Porter's store. They 
are going to raid Dr. Bethel's cottage and search for the 

"They're a set of confounded fools!" I muttered. 
"Follow me, Carnes." 

And I turned my steps in the direction of " Porter's 




Loftnging just outside the door at Porter's was Jirn 
Long, hands in pockets, eyes fixed on vacancy. He was 
smoking his favorite pipe, and seemed quite oblivious to 
the stir and excitement going on within. When he saw 
me approach, lie lounged a few steps toward me, then get- 
ting beyond the range of Porter's door and window. 

"Give a dough-headed bumpkin a chance to make a fool 
of himself an' he'll never go back on it," began Jim, as I 
approached. " Have ye come ter assist in the body 
huntin' ?" 

" I will assist, most assuredly, if assistance is needed," 
E replied. 

"Well, then, walk right along in. I guess Til go home." 

"Don't be too hasty, Jim," I said, in a lower tone. "I 
want to see you in about two minutes." 

Jim gave a grunt of dissatisfaction, but seated himself, 
nevertheless, on one of Porter's empty butter tubs, that 
stood just beside a window. 

I passed in and added myself to the large group of men 
huddled close together near the middle of the long store, 

MOB LAW. 87 

and talking earnestly and angrily, with excitement, fiercely, 
or foolishly, as the case might be. 

The fire-brand had been dropped in among them, by 
whom they never could have told, had they stopped once to 
consider; but they did not consider. Someone had hinted 
at the possibility of finding the body of little Effie Beale 
in the possession of the new doctor, and that was enough. 
Guilty or innocent, Dr. Bethel must pay the penalty of his 
reticence, his newness, and his independence. Not being 
numbered among the acceptable institutions of Trafton, he 
need expect no quarter. 

It seemed that the child had been under his care, and 
looking at the matter from a cold-blooded, scientific stand- 
point, it appeared to me not impossible that the doctor had 
disinterred the body, and I soon realized that should he be 
found guilty, or even be unable to prove his innocence, it 
would go hard with Dr. Bethel. 

Among those who cautioned the overheated ones, and 
urged prudence, and calm judgment, was Arch Brookhouse; 
but, somehow, his words only served to add fuel to the 
flame; while, chief among the turbulent ones, who urged 
extreme measures, was Tom Briggs, and I noted that he 
was also supported by three or four fellows of the same 
caliber, two of whom I had never seen before. 

Having satisfied myself that there was not much time to 
lose if I wished to see fair play for Dr. Bethel, I turned 
away from the crowd, unnoticed, and went out* to where 
Jim waited. 


"Jim," I said, touching him on the shoulder, "they 
mean to make it hot for Bethel, and he will be one man 
against fifty we must not allow anything like that." 

" Now ye're talkin'," said Jim, knocking the ashes from his 
pipe,and rising slowly, "an' I'm with ye. What's yer idee?" 

"We must not turn the mob against us, by seeming to 
co-operate," I replied. "Do you move with the crowd, 
Jim; I'll be on the ground as soon as you are." 

"All right, boss," said Jim. 

I turned back toward the telegraph office, that being 
midway between "Porter's" and my hotel. 

The men were still there talking excitedly. I looked in 
at the window and beckoned to young Harris. He came 
to me, and I whispered: 

"The men at Porter's mean mischief to Dr. Bethel ; your 
father may be able to calm them; he had better go down 

"He will," replied Harris, in a whisper, "and so will I." 

Games was lounging outside the office. I approached 
him, and said: 

"Go along with the crowd, Carnes, and stand in with 

Carnes winked and nodded, and I went on toward tha 

On reaching my room, I took from their case a brace of 
five-shooters, and put the weapons in my pockets. Then I 
went below and seated myself on the hotel piazza. 

MOB LAW. 89 

In order to reach Dr. Bethel's house, the crowd must 
pass the hotel ; so I had only to wait. 

I did not wait long, however. Soon they came down 
the street, quieter than they had been at Porter's, but reso- 
lute to defy law and order, and take justice into their 
own hands. As they hurried past the hotel in groups of 
twos, threes, and sometimes half a dozen, I noted them 
man by man. Jim Long was loping silently on by the 
side of an honest-faced farmer ; Games and Brings were 
in the midst of a swaggering, loud talking knot of loafers; 
the Harrises, father and son, followed in the rear of the 
crowd and on the opposite side of the street. 

As the last group passed, I went across the road and 
joined- the younger Harris, who was some paces in advance 
of his father, looking, as I did so, up and down the street. 
Arch Brookhouse came cantering up on a fine bay ; he held 
in his hand the yellow envelope, which, doubtless, he had 
just received from Harris. 

"Charlie," he called, reining in his horse. "Stop a 
moment; yon must send a message for me." 

We halted, Harris looking somewhat annoyed. 

Brookhouse tore off half of the yellow envelope, and 
sitting his horse, wrote a few words, resting his scrap of 
paper on the horn of his saddle. 

"Sorry to trouble you, Charlie," he said, "but I want 
this to go at once. Were you following the mob?" 

" Yes," replied Charlie, " weren't you ?" 


"No," said, shortly, " I'm going home; 1 
don't believe in mob law." 

So saying, lie handed the paper to Harris, who, taking ic 
with some ditliculty, having to lean far out because of a 
ditch between himself and Brookhouse, lost his hold upon 
it, and a light puff of wind sent it directly into my lace. 

I caught it quickly, and before Harris could recover his 
balance, I had scanned its contents. It ran thus : 


FUKD HHOOKIIOUSK : Next wot-k L will bo on hum!. 

A. B. 

Harris took the scrap of paper and turned back toward 
the office. And I, joining the elder Harris, walked on 
silently, watching young Brookhouse as he galloped swiftly 
past the crowd ; past the house of Dr. Bethel, and on up 
the hill, toward the Brookhouse homestead. I wondered 
inwardly why Frederick Brookhouse, if he were promi- 
nently connected with a Southern theater, should receive 
his telegrams at a private address. 

Dr. Bethel occupied two pleasant rooms of a small house 
owned by 'Squire Brookhouse. He had chosen these, so 
he afterwards informed me, because he wished a quiet place 
for study, and this he could scarcely hope to find either in 
the village hotel or the average private boarding houses. 
He took his meals at the hotel, and shared the office of 
Dr. Barnard, the eldest of tSe Trafton physicians, who was 
quite willing to retire from the practice of his profession, 

- MOB LAW 91 

and was liberal enough to welcome. a young and enterpris- 
ing stranger. 

Dr. Bethel was absent; this the mob soon ascertained, 
and some of them, after paying a visit to the stable, reported 
that his was gone. 

"Gone to visit some country patient, I dare say," said 
Mr. Harris, as we heard this announcement. 

" Gone tcr be out of the way till he sees is he found 
out," yelled Tom Briggs. "Let's go through the house, 

There was a brief consultation among the leaders of the 
raid, and then, to my surprise and to Mr. Harris's disgust, 
they burst in the front door and poured into the house, 
Carries among the rest. Jim Long drew back as they 
crowded in, and took up his position near the gate, and not 
far from the place where we had halted. 

Their search was rapid and fruitless; they were begin- 
ning to come out and scatter about the grounds, when a 
horse came thundering up to the gate, and Dr. Bethel flung 
himself from the saddle. 

He had seen the raiding party while yet some rods away, 
and he turned a perplexed and angry face upon us. 

"I should like to know the meaning of this," he said, in 
quick, ringing tones, at the same moment throwing open 
the little gate so forcibly as to make those nearest it start 
and draw back. "Who has presumed to open my door?" 

Mr. Harris approached him and said, in a low tone: 


" Bethel, restrain yourself. Little Effie Beale has been 
stolen from her grave, and these men have turned out to 
search for the body." 

"Stolen from her grave!" the doctor's hand fell to his 
side ami the auger died out of his eyes, and he seemed to 
comprehend the situation in a moment. " And they accuse 
me of course." 

The last words were touched with a shade of irony. Then 
he strode in among the searchers. 

"My friends," he said, in a tone of lofty contempt, "so 
you have accused me of grave robbing. Very well; go on 
with your search, and when it is over, and you find that 
you have brought a false charge against me, go home, with 
the assurance that every man of you shall be made to an- 
swer for this uncalled-for outlawry." 

The raiders who had gathered together to listen to this 
speech, fell back just a little, in momentary consternation. 
He had put the matter before then in a new light, and 
each man felt himself for the moment responsible for 
his own acts. But the voice of Tom Briggs rallied 

"He's bluffin' us!" cried this worthy. "He's try in' to 
make us drop the hunt, Boys, we're gittin' hot. Let's go 
for the barn and garden." 

And he turned away, followed by the more reckless 

Without paying the slightest heed to them or their 

MOB LAW. 93 

movements, Dr. Bethel turned again to Mr. Harris and 
ariked when the body was disinterred. 

While a part of the men, who had not followed Briggs, 
drew closer to our group, and the rest whispered together, 
a little apart, Mr. Harris told him all that was krunyn con- 
cerning the affair. 

As he listened a cynical half smile covered the doctor's 
face; he lifted his head and seemed about to speak, then, 
closing his lips firmly, he again bent his head and listened 
as at first. 

" There's something strange about this resurrection," said 
he, when Mr. Harris had finished. " Mr. Beale's little daugh- 
ter was my patient. It was a simple case of diphtheria. 
There were no unusual symptoms, nothing in the case to 
rouse the curiosity of any physician. The Trafton doctors 
know this. Drs. Hess and Barnard counselled with me. 
Either the body has been stolen by some one outside of 
Trafton, or there is another motive." 

He spoke these last words slowly, as if still deliberating, 
and, turning, took his horse by the bridle and led him 
stable ward. 

In another moment there came a shout from Briggs' 
party, their loud voices mingling in angry denunciations. 

With one impulse the irresolute ones, forgetting self, 
swarmed in the direction whence the voices came. 

We saw Dr. Bethel, who was just at the rear corner of 
the house, start, stop, then suddenly let fall the bridle and 


stride after the hurrying men, and at once, Mr. Harris, 
Jim Long and myself followed. 

Just outside the stable stood Briggs, surrounded by his 
crew, talking loudly, and holding up to the view of all, a 
bright new spade, and an earth-stained pick ax. As we 
came nearer we could see that the spade too had clots of 
moist black earth clinging to its surface. 

"Look, all of ye," shouted Briggs. "So much fer bis big 
words; them's the things he did the job with." page 97. 





"Look, all of ye," shouted Briggs. "So much fer his 
big words; them's the things he did the job with." 

The doctor stopped short at sight of these implements; 
stopped and stood motionless so long that his attitude might 
well have been mistaken for that of unmasked guilt. But 
his face told another story; blank amazement was all it 
expressed for a moment, then a gleam of comprehension ; 
next a sneer of intensest scorn, and last, strong but sup- 
pressed anger. He strode in among the men gathered 
about Tom Briggs. 

"Where did you get those tools, fellow ?" he demanded, 

" From the place where ye hid 'em, I reckon," retorted 

" Answer me, sir," thundered the doctor. " Where were 

"Oh, ye needn't try any airs on me; ye know well 
enough where we got' em." 

Dr. Bethel'sjhand shot out swiftly, and straight from 
the shoulder, and Briggs went down like a log. 
' 7 *5 


"Now, 'sir/' turning to the man nearest Briggs, "where 
were these things hidden?" 

It chanced that this next man was Carnos, who answered 
quickly, and with well feigned self-concern. 

"In the sthable, yer honor, foreninst the windy, behind 
the shay." 

I heard a suppressed laugh behind me, and looking over, 
my shoulder saw Charlie Harris. 

"Things are getting interesting," he said, coining, up be- 
side me. "Will there be a scrimmage, think you?" 

I made him no answer, my attention being fixed upon 
Beth; 1, who was entering the stable and dragging Games 
with him. When he had ascertained the exact spot where 
the tools were found, he came out and turned upon the raiders. 

" Go on with your farce," he said, with a sarcastic curl 
of the lip. "I am curious to see what you will find next." 

Then turning upon Briggs, who had scrambled to his 
feet, and who caressed a very red and swollen eye, while he 
began a tirade of abuse 

"Fellow, hold your tongue, if you don't want a worse 
hit. If you'll walk into my house I'll give you a plaster 
for that eye after I have cared for your better." 

And he turned toward his horse, \vhistling a musical call. 
The well-trained animal came straight to its master and 
wag led by him into its accustomed place. 

And now the search became more active. Those who at 
first had been held in check by the doctor's manner were 


once more spurred to action by the sight of those earth- 
stained tools, and the general verdict was that " Bethel was 
bluffing, sure." AVhen lie emerged again from the stable, 
they were scattering about the garden, looking in impossi- 
ble places of concealment, under everything, over every- 
thing, into everything. 

Briggs, who seemed not at all inclined to accept the 
doctor's proffered surgical aid, still grasping in his hand 
the pick, and followed by Games, to whom he had resigned 
the spade, went prowling about the garden. 

Bethel, who appeared to have sufficient mental employ- 
ment of some sort, passed our group with a smile and the 
remark : 

"I can't ask you in, gentlemen, until I have set my house 
in order. Those vandals have made it a place of confusion." 

He entered the house through a rear door, which had 
been thrown open by the invaders, and a moment later, as 
I passed by a side window, I glanced in and saw him, not 
engaged in "setting his house in order," but sitting in a 
low, broad-backed chair, his elbows resting on his knees, 
his hands loosely clasped, his head bent forward, his eyes 
" fixed on vacancy," the whole attitude that of profound 

The finding of the tools, the manner of Bethel, both 
puzzled me. I went over to Jim Long, who had seated 
himself on the well platform, and asked : 

"How is this going to terminate, Jim?" 


"Umph!" responded Jim, somewhat gruffly. "'Twon't 
be long a comin' to a focus." 

And he spoke truly. In a few moments we heard a shout 
from the rear of the garden. Tom Briggs and his party 
had found a spot where the soil had been newly turned. 
In another moment a dozen hands were digging fiercely. 

Just then, and unnoticed by the exploring ones, a new 
element of excitement came upon the scene. 

Mr. Beale, the father of tha missing child, accompanied 
by two or three friends, came in from the street. They 
paused a moment, in seeming irresolution, then the father, 
seeing the work going on in the garden, uttered a sharp 
exclamation, and started hastily toward the spot, where, at 
that moment, half a dozen men were bending over the small 
excavation they had made, and twice as many more were 
crowding close about them. 

" They have found something," said Harris, the elder, and 
he hastily followed Mr. Beale, leaving his son and myself 
standing together near the rear door of the house, and Jim 
still sitting aloof, the only ones now, save Dr. Bethel, who 
were not grouping closer and closer about the diggers, in 
eager anxiety to see what had been unearthed. 

In another moment, there came a tumult of exclama- 
tions, imprecations, oaths; and above all the rest, a cry of 
mingled anguish and rage from the lips of the bereaved 
and tortured father. 

The crowd about the spot fell back, and the diggers 


arose, one of them holding something up to the view of the 
rest. Instinctively, young Harris and myself started to- 
ward them. 

But Jim Long still sat stolidly smoking beside the well. 

As we moved forward, I heard a sound from the house, 
and looked back. Dr. Bethel had flung wide open the 
shutters of a rear window, and was looking out upon the 

Approaching the group, we saw what had caused the 
father's cry, and the growing excitement of the searchers. 
They had found a tiny pair of shoes, and a little white 
dress; the shoes and dress in which little Erne Beale had 
been buried. 

And now the wildest excitement prevailed. Maddened 
with grief, rage, and sickening horror, the father called upon 
them to find the body, and to aid him in wreaking vengeance 
upon the man who had desecrated his darling's grave. 

It was as fire to flax. Those who have witnessed the 
workings of a mob, know how swiftly, mysteriously, un- 
reasonably, it kindles under certain influences. 

How many men, with different, often opposing interests, 
make the cause of one their common cause, and forgetting 
personality, become a unit for vengeance, a single, dreadful, 
unreasoning force ! 

The air resounded with threats, imprecations, exclama- 
tions, oaths. 

Some of the better class of Traftonites had followed 


after the first party, joining them by threes and fours. 
These made some effort to obtain a hearing for themselves 
and Mr. Harris, but it was futile. 

"Hang the rascally doctor!" 

"String him up!" 

"Run him out of town!" 

"Hanging's too good!" 

"Let's tar and feather him!" 

"Brin<r him out; bring him out!" 

~ / O 

"Give us a hold of him!" 

"We ain't found the body yet," cried one of the most 
earnest searchers. "Let's keep looking." 

As some of the party turned toward the house I looked 
back to the open window. 

Dr. Bethel still stood in full view, but Jim Long had 
disappeared from the pump platform. 

The search now became fierce and eager, and while some 
started to go once again through the house and cellar, a 
number of Briggs' cronies began a furious onslaught upon 
a stack of hay, piled against the stable. 

But those who approached the house met with an un- 
looked-for obstacle to their search, the rear door was 
closed and barred against them. Failing in this quarter 
they hastened around to the front. 

Here the door was open, just as they had left it, swing- 
ing on one broken hinge; but the doctor's tall form and 
stalwart shoulders barred the way. 


"Gentlemen," he said, in low, resolute tones, "you can 
not enter my house, at least at present. You have done 
sufficient damage to my property already." 

The men halted for a moment, and then the foremost of 
them began to mount the steps. 

"Stand back," said Bethel. " I shall protect my property. 
I will allow my house to be inspected again by a committee, 
if you like, but I will not admit a mob." 

"You'd better not try to stop us," said the leader of the 
party, "we are too many for ye." And he mounted the 
upper step. 

"Stand down, sir," again said Bethel. "Did I not say 
I should protect my property ?" and he suddenly pre- 
sented in the face of the astonished searcher a brace of 
silver-mounted pistols. 

The foremost men drew hastily back, but they rallied 
again, and one of them yelled out: 

"Ye'd better not tackle us single-handed; an' ye won't 
get anyone to back ye now /" 

"Jest allow me ter argy that pint with ye," said Jim 
Long, as he suddenly appeared in the doorway beside 
Bethel. " I reckon I'm somebody." 

Jim held in his hand a handsome rifle, the doctor's 
property, and he ran his eye critically along the barrel as 
he spoke. 

"Here's five of us, an' we all say ye can't come in. 
Three of us can repeat the remark if it 'pears necessary." 


Then turning his eye upon the last speaker of the party, 
lie said, affably: 

"I ain't much with the little shooters, Simmons ; but I 
can jest make a rifle howl. Never saw me shoot, did ye? 
Now, jest stand still till I shoot that grasshopper off ye'r 
hat brim." 

Simmons, who stood in the midst of the group, and was 
taller than those about him by half a head, began a rapid 
retrograde movement, and, as Jim slowly raised his rifle to 
his shoulder, the group about the door-steps melted away, 
leaving him in possession of the out-posts. 

"That," said Jim, with a grin, as he lowered his rifle, 
"illyustcrates the sooperiority of mind over matter. 
Doctor, did ye know the darned thing wasn't loaded?" 

While Bethel still smiled at this bit of broad comedy, a 
sharp cry, and then a sudden unnatural stillness, told of 
some new occurrence, and followed by Jim we went back 
to the rear window and looked out. 

They were crowding close about something, as yet half 
hidden in the scattered hay; all silent, and, seemingly, 
awe-stricken. Thus for a moment only, then a low mur- 
mur ran through the crowd, growing and swelling into a 
yell of rage and fury. 

Hidden in the doctor's hay they had found the body of 
Effic Beale ! 

It was still encoflined, but the little casket had been 
forced open, and it was evident, from the position of the 


body, that the buried clothing had been hurriedly torn 
from it. 

It would be difficult to describe the scene which followed 
this last discovery. While the father, and his more 
thoughtful friends, took instant possession of the little coffin, 
the wrath of the raiders grew hotter and higher; every 
voice and every hand was raised against Dr. Bethel. 

Tom Briggs, with his blackened eye, was fiercely active, 
and his two or three allies clamored loudly for vengeance 
upon "the cursed resurrectionist." 

" Let's give him a lesson," yelled a burly fellow, who, 
having neither wife, child, nor relative in Trafton was, ac- 
cording to a peculiar law governing the average human 
nature, the loudest to clamor for summary vengeance. 
" Let's set an example, an' teach grave robbers what to look 
for when they come to Trafton !" 

"If we don't settle with him nobody will," chimed in 
another fellow, who doubtless had good reason for doubt- 
ing the ability of Trafton justice to deal with law- 

Those who said little were none the less easier to demon- 


strate their ability to deal with offenders when the oppor- 
tunity afforded itself. Over and again, in various ways, 
Trafton had been helplessly victimized, and now, that at 
last they had traced an outrage to its source, Trafton seized 
the opportunity to vindicate herself. 

A few of the fiercest favored extreme measures, but the 


majority of the mob seemed united in their choice of feathers 
and tar, as a means of vengeance'. 

Seeing ho\v the matter would terminate, I turned to 
Harris, the younger, who had kept his position near me. 

"Ask your father to follow us," 1 said, "and come with 
me. They are about to attack the doctor." 

We went quietly around and entered the house from the 
front. The doctor and Jim were still at the open window, 
and in full view of the mob. 

Bethel turned toward us a countenance locked in im- 
penetrable self-possession. 

"They mean business," he said, nodding his head toward 
the garden. "Poor fools." 

Then he took his pistols from a chair by the window, 
putting one in each pocket of his loose sack coat. 

"Gentlemen," he said, addressing us, "pray don't bring 
upon yourselves the enmity of these people by attempt- 
ing to defend me. T assure you I am in no danger, and can 
deal with them single-handed. Out of regard for what 
they have left of my furniture, I will meet them outside." 

And he put one hand upon th- window sill and leaped 
lightly out, followed instantly by young Harris. 

"Here's the inconvenience of being in charge of the 
artillery," growled Jim Long, discontentedly. " I'll stay 
in the fort till the enemy opens fire," and he drew the afore- 
mentioned rifle closer to him, as he squatted upon the 
window ledge. 


The clergyman and myself, without consultation or com- 
ment made our exit as we came, by the open front door, 
and arrived upon the scene just as Bethel, with his two 
hands in his coat pockets, halted mid-way between the house 
and rear garden to meet the mob that swarmed toward him, 
yelling, hooting, hissing. 

If the doctor had hoped to say anything in his own de- 
fense, or even to make himself heard, he was speedily con- 
vinced of the futility of such an undertaking. His voice 
was drowned by their clamor, and as many eager hands 
were outstretched to seize him in their hard, unfriendly 
grasp, the doctor lost faith in moral suasion and drew back 
a step, while he suddenly presented, for their consideration, 
a brace of five-shooters. 

The foremost men recoiled for a moment, and Mr. Harris 
seized the opportunity. Advancing until he stood almost 
before Dr. Bethel, he began a conciliatory speech, after the 
most approved manner. 

But it came to an abrupt ending, the men rallied almost 
instantly, and, drowning the clergyman's voice under a 
chorus of denunciations and oaths, they once more pressed 

"Stand down, parson," cried Jim Long, now leaping 
f:-oni the window, rifle in hand, and coming to the rescue. 
"Your medicine ain't the kind they're haukerin' 

"You fall back, Tom Briggs," called Charlie Harris, 


peremptorily, "we want fair play here," and he drew a 
pistol from his pocket and took his stand beside Bethel. 

At the same moment I drew my own weapons and fell 
into line. 

"Gentlemen," I said, "let's give Dr. Bethel a hearing." 

And now occurred what we had hardly anticipated. 
While some of the foremost of the raiders drew back, others 
advanced, and we saw that these coiners to the front were 
armed like ourselves. 

While we stood thus, for a moment, there was a breath- 
less silence and then Jim Long's deep voice made itself 

"Some of you fellers are giving yourselves away," he 
said, with a sneer. "Now, jest look a here; ye mean bluff, 
we mean business. An' you chaps as has been supplied with 
shooters by Tom Briggs and Simmons and Saunders hed 
better drop the things an' quit." 

A moment's silence, then a babel of voices, a clamor and 

There was the loud crack of a pistol, accompanied by a 
fierce oath, a cry of "stop," uttered in a clear female 
voice, then another moment of breathless silence. 

Two women were standing in our midst, directly between 
the doctor and his assailants, and Games still grasped the 
pistol hand of Tom Briggs, while the smoke of the averted 
charge yet hovered above their heads. 

One of the two ladies, who had so suddenly come to tiie 

"Stand down, parson," cried Jim, rifle in hand, "Your 
medicine aia't the kind they're hankerin' after." page 107. 



rescue, was Miss A.dele Minivers. The other a tall, lithe, 
beautiful blonde, I had never before seen. 

"Friends, neighbors," said this fair stranger, in clear, 
sweet, but imperious tones, "you have made, a terrible 
mistake. Dr. Bethel was with my father from sunset 
last night until one hour ago. They were together every 
moment, at the bedside of Mr. James Kelsey, on the 
Willoughby road." 

Evidently this fair young lady was an authority not to 
be questioned. The crowd fell back in manifest consterna- 
tion, even Tom Briggs' tongue was silent. 

Miss Manvers stood for a moment casting glances of 
open contempt upon the crowd. Then, as the doctor's fair 
champion ceased speaking and, seeing that her words had 
been effective, drew nearer to Mr. Harris, flushing and pal- 
ing as if suddenly abashed by her own daring, the brilliant 
owner of the treasure-ship riches turned to Dr. Bethel. 

"Doctor, you are our prisoner," she said, smiling up at 
him. "Dr. Barnard is half frantic since hearing of this 
affair, and he commissioned us to bring you to him at once." 

Miss Manvers had not as yet noted my presence among 
the doctor's handful of allies. Wishing to give my eyes 
and ears full play, I drew back, and, using Jim Long as a 
screen, kept near the group about the doctor ; but out of 
view. I had noted the sudden flash of his eyes, and the 
lighting up of his face, when the fair unknown came among 
us. And now I saw him clasp her hand between his two 


tirm palms and look down into her face, for just a moment, 
as I could have sworn he had never looked at any other 

I saw her eyes meet his for an instant, then she seemed 
to have withdrawn into herself, and the fearless champion 
was merged in the modest but self-possessed woman. 

I saw the haughty Adele Manvers moving about among 
the raiders, bestowing a word here and there, and I saw 
Mr. Harris now making good use of the opportunity these 
two fair women had made. I noted that Tom Briggs and 
his loud-voiced associates were among the first to slink away. 

Dr. Bethel was reluctant to quit the field, but the advice 
of Mr. Harris, the earnest entreaty of Miss Manvers, and, 
more than all the rest, the one pleading look from the eyes 
of the lovely unknown, prevailed. 

"Long," he said, turning to Jim, "here are my keys; 
will you act as my steward until my place is restored to 

Jim nodded comprehensively. 

"I'll clear the premises," he said, grimly. "Don't ye 
have any uneasiness ; I'll camp right down here." 

"Bethel," said Charlie Harris, "for the sake of the 
ladies, you had better go at once ; those fellows in the rear 
there are trying to rally their forces." 

"Since my going will be a relief to my friends, I con- 
sent to retreat," said the besieged doctor, smiling down at 
the two ladies. 


They had driven thither in a dashing little pony phseton, 
owned by Miss Manvers; and as they moved toward it the 
heiress said : 

"Doctor, you must drive Miss Barnard home; I intend 
to walk, and enjoy the society of Mr. Harris." 

Dr. Bethel and the blonde lady entered the little carriage, 
and, after a few words addressed to Harris and Miss Man- 
vers, drove away. 

The heiress looked about the grounds for a moment, ad- 
dressed a few gracious words to Harris, the elder, smiled 
at Jim Long, and then moved away, escorted by the de- 
lighted younger Harris. 

" Wimmen air wimmen," said Jim Long, sententiously, 
leaning upon the rifle, which he still retained, and looking 
up the road after the receding plumes of Miss Manvers' 
Gainsborough hat. "You can't never tell where they're 
goin' ter appear next. It makes a feller feel sort a ornary, 
though, ter have a couple o' gals sail in an' do more busi- 
ness with a few slick words an' searchin' looks, then he 
could do with a first-class rifle ter back him. Makes him 
feel as tho' his inflouence was weakening." 

"Jim," I said, ignoring his whimsical complaint, "who 
was the fair haired lady ?" 

"Doctor Barnard's only darter, Miss Louise," 

"I never saw her before." 

" 'Spose not; she's been away nigh onto two months, 
visitin' her father's folks. Old Barnard must a had one 



of his bad turns this morning, so's he couldn't git out, or 
he'd never a sent his gal into such a crowd on such an er- 
rand. Hullo, what's that Mick o' your'n doiii' ?" 

Glancing in the direction indicated by Jim, I saw that 
Games was engaged in a fisticuff bout with Tom Briggs, 
and hastened to interpose; not through solicitude for 
Carnes so much as because I wished to prevent a serious 
rupture between the two. 

"Barney," I said, severely, "you have been drinking 
too much, I am sure. Stop this ruffianism at once." 

"Is it ruffianism yer callin' it, ter defend yerself aginst 
the murtherin' shnake; and ain't it all bekase I hild up 
his fist fer fear the blundherin' divil ud shoot yees by 
mishtake ! Och, then, didn't I make the illigaut rhyme 
though ?" 

"You have made yourself very offensive to me, sir, by 
the part you have taken in this affair," I retorted, with 
additional sternness ; " and so long as you remain in my 
service you will please to remember that I desire you to 
avoid the society of loafers and brawlers." 

" Mean in' me, I suppose?" snarled Tom Briggs. 

"Meaning you in this instance," I retorted, turning 
away from the two, with all the dignity I could muster for 
the occasion. 

" Bedad, he's got his blood up," muttered Carnes, rue- 
fully, as I walked away. " Old Rod Top, shake ! Seein' 
as I'm to be afther howldin' myself above yees in future, 

"Glancing in the direction indicated by Jim, I saw that Games 
was engaged in a fisticuff bout with Tom Briggs, and hastened to 
interpose;" page 114. 



I won't mind yer airs j 1st now, an' if iver I git twenty 
dollars ahead I'll discharge yon blood an' be me own bye." 

Satisfied that this bit of by-play had had the desired 
effect, and being sure that Games would not leave the prem- 
ises so long as there remained anything or any one likely 
to prove interesting, I turned my steps townward, musing 
as I went. 

I had made, or so I believed, three discoveries. 

Dr. Carl Bethel was the victim of a deep laid plot, of 
which this affair of the morning was but the beginning. 

Dr. Carl Bethel was in love with the fair Miss Barnard. 

And the brilliant owner of the treasure-ship jewels was 
in love with Dr. Carl Bethel. 

Whether Bethel was aware of the plot, or suspected his 
enemies; whether he was really what he seemed, or only 
playing a part like myself; "whether to warn him and so 
risk bringing myself under suspicion, or to let matters take 
their natural course and keep a sharp lookout meantime; 
were questions which I asked myself again and again, fail- 
ing to find a satisfactory answer. 

On one thing I decided, however. Bethel was a self- 
reliant man. He was keen and courageous, quite capable 
of being more than he seemed. He was not a man to be 
satisfied with half truth. I must give him my fullest con- 
fidence or not seek his. 




It was growing dusk before I saw Games again that day. 
I had remained in my room since dinner, wishing to avoid 
as much as possible the gossip and natural inquiry that 
would follow the denouement of the raid against Dr. Bethel, 
lest some suspicious mind should think me too much in- 
terested, considering the part I had taken in the affair. 

Games came in softly, and wearing upon his face the 
peculiar knowing grin that we at the office had named his 
"Fox smile." He held in his hand a folded slip of paper, 
which he dropped upon my knee, and then drew back, 
without uttering a comment, to watch my perusal of the 

It was very brief, simply a penciled line from Dr. 
Barnard, asking me to tea at seven o'clock. It was almost 
seven as I read. 

"Where did you get this?" I asked, rising with sudden 
alacrity, and beginning a hurried toilet. " Read it Games, 
if you haven't already ; I should have had it earlier." 

Games took up the note, perused it, and tossed it on the 
bed, then, seating himself astride a chair, he told his story. 

A CUP OF TEA. 119 

watching my progressing toilet with seeming interest the 

" After my tender parting with Briggs, I sherried over 
and made myself agreeable to Jim Long, and as I w r as un- 
common respectful and will in' to be harangued, he sort o' 
took me as handy boy, an' let me stay an help him tidy up 
Bethel's place. He cleared out the multitude, put the yard 
into decent order, and then, while he undertook to rehang 
the doctor's front door, I'm blest if he didn't set me to 
pilin' up the hay stack. Don't wear that beast of a choker, 
man, it makes you look like a laughing hyena." 

I discarded the condemned choker, SM'allowed the doubt- 
ful compliment, and Carnes continued, lapsing suddenly 
into broad Irish: 

"Prisintly he comes out to the shtack, as I was finishin' 
the pile, tellin' me as he must have some new hinges to 
the doctor's door, an' axin would I shtay an' kape house 
till he wint up fer the iron works. I consinted." 

"Yes!" eagerly. 

"And I made good use of the opportunity. I wint over 
that place in a way to break the heart of a jenteel crook, an' 
I'm satisfied. 

"Of what, Carnes?" 

"That there's no irregularity about the doctor. If there 
was a track as big as a fly's foot wouldn't I have hit 
it? Yes, sir! There ain't no trace of the detective-in- 
ambush about those premises, Tom Briggs to the contrary 


notwithstanding. He's a regular articled medical college 
graduate; there's plenty of correspondence to prove him 
Dr. Carl Bethel, and nothing to prove him anything else." 

" Quite likely," I replied, not yet wholly convinced ; 
"Bethel is not the man to commit himself; he'd be very 
sure not to leave a trace of his 'true inwardness' about the 
premises, if he were on a still hunt. How about the note, 

"Oh, the note! Well, when Jim came back, about 
fifteen minutes ago, or so, he gave me that, saying that he 
called at Dr. Barnard's to ask for instructions from Bethel, 
and was handed that note to leave for you. Jim says that 
he forgot to stop with the note; but I'm inclined to think 
that he wanted to dispose of me and took this way to avoid 
hurting my feelings." 

"Well, I shall be late at Dr. Barnard's, owing to Jim's 
notions of delicacy," I said, turning away from the mirror 
and hurriedly brushing my hat. "However, I can ex- 
plain the tardiness. By-by, Carnes ; we will talk this day's 
business over when I have returned." 

Dr. Barnard's pleasant dwelling was scarce five minutes' 
walk from our hotel ; and I was soon making my bow 
in the presence of the doctor, his wife and daughter, Miss 
Manvers, and Dr. Bethel. 

As I look back upon that evening I remember Louise 
Barnard as at once the loveliest, the simplest and most 
charmingly cultivated woman I have ever met. Graceful 

A CUP OP TEA. 121 

without art, self-possessed without ostentation, beautiful as 
a picture, without seeming to have sought by artifices of 
the toilet to heighten the effect of her statuesque love- 

Adele Manvers was also beautiful ; no, handsome is the 
more appropriate word for her; but- in face, form, color- 
ing, dress, and manner, a more decided contrast could not 
have been deliberately planned. 

Miss Barnard was the lovely lady; Miss Manvers, the 
daintily clad, fair woman of fashion. 

Miss Barnard was tall, slender, dazzlingly beautiful, 
with soft fair hair and the features of a Greek goddess. 
Miss Manvers was a trifle below the medium height, a 
piquant brunette, plump, shapely, a trifle haughty, and in- 
clined to self-assertion. 

Miss Barnard wore soft flowing draperies, and her hair 
as nature intended it to be worn. Miss Manvers wore 
another woman's hair in defiance of nature, and her dress 
was fashion's last conceit, a "symphony" in silks and 
ruffles and bewildering draperies. 

Miss Barnard was dignified and somewhat reticent. 
Miss Manvers was talkative and vivacious. 

They had learned from Jim Long all that he could tell 
them concerning the part I had taken in the affair of the 
morning. The elder physician desired to express his ap- 
probation, the younger his gratitude. They had sent for 

me that I might hear what they had to say on the subject 



of the grave robbery, and to ask my opinion and advice as 
to future movements. 

All this was communicated to me by the voluble old 
doctor, who was sitting in an invalid's chair, being as yet 
but half recovered from his neuralgic attack of the morn- 
ing. We had met on several occasions, but I had no pre- 
vious knowledge of his family. 

"There will be no further trouble about this matter," 
said Dr. Barnard, as we sat in the cool, cosy parlor after 
our late tea. "Our people have known me too long to 
doubt my word, and my simple statement of my absolute 
knowledge* concerning all of Bethel's movements will put 
out the last spark of suspicion, so far as he is concerned 
but," bringing the palm of his large hand down upon the 
arm of his chair with slow emphasis, "it won't settle the 
question next in order. UVio are the guilty ones ?" 

"That I shall make it my business to find out," said 
Dr. Bethel, seriously, " I confess that at first I was un- 
reasonably angry, at the thought of the suspicion cast upon 
me. On second thought it was but natural. I am as yet 
a stranger among you, and Trafton evidently believes it 
wise to ' consider every man a rogue until he is proved 
honest.' " 

"From what I have heard since coming here," I ven- 
tured, " I shoald say Trafton has some reason for adopting 
this motto." 

" So she has ; so she has," broke in the old doctor. 

A CUP OF TEA. 123 

11 And some one had a reason for attempting to throw sus- 
picion upon Bethel." 

"Evidently/' said Bethel. "I am puzzled to guess 
what that reason can be, and I dispose of the theory that 
would naturally come up first, namely, that it is a plot to 
destroy the public confidence in me, set on foot by rival 
doctors, by saying, at the outset, that I don't believe there 
is a medical man in or about Trafton capable of such 
a deed. I have all confidence in my professional 

" Why," interposed Miss Manvers, " the sentiment does 
you honor, Dr. Bethel, but I should think the other 
doctors your most natural enemies. Who else could," 
she broke off abruptly with an appealing glance at Louise 

" I think Dr. Bethel is right," said Miss Barnard, in her 
low, clear contralto. " I cannot think either of our doctors 
capable of a deed so shameful." Then turning to address 
me, she added, " You, as a stranger among us, may see the 
matter in a more reasonable light. How does it look to 

"Taking the doctor's innocence as a foregone conclusion," 
I replied, " it looks as though he had an enemy in Trafton," 
here I turned my eyes full upon the face of Bethel, "who 
wished to drive him out of the community by making him 
unpopular in it." 

Bethel's face wore the same expression of mystified 


candor, his eyes met mine full and frankly, as he 
replied : 

" Taking tlmt as a foregone conclusion, we arrive at the 
point of starting, Who are the guilty ones? Who are my 
enemies? I have been uniformly successful in my practice; 
I have had no differences, disagreement, or disputes with 
any man in Trafton. Up to to-day I could have sworn I 
had not an enemy in the town." 

"And so could I," said Dr. Barnard. "It's a case for a 
wiser head than mine." 

"It's a case for the detectives," said Dr. Bethel, firmly. 
"If this unknown foe thinks to drive me from Trafton, he 
must try other measures. I intend to remain, and to solve 
this mystery." 

A moment's silence followed this decided announcement. 

The old doctor nodded his approval, his daughter looked 

Miss Manvers sat with eyes fixed upon a spot in the 
carpet, biting nervously at her full red under lip, and tap- 
ping the floor with the toe of her dainty boot. 

I had no desire to take a prominent part in the discus- 
sion which followed, and became as much as I could a mere 
observer, but, as after events proved, I made very good use 
of my eyes that night. 

Having exhausted the subject of the grave robbery with- 
out arriving at any new conclusions, the social old doctor 
proposed a game of whist, cards being, his chief source of 

A CUP OF TEA. 125 

evening pastime. The game was made up, Miss Manvers 
taking a seat opposite Dr. Barnard, and Dr. Bethel playing 
with Mrs. Barnard. 

After watching their game for a time, Miss Barnard and 
myself retired to the piano. She sang several songs in a 
tender contralto, to a soft, well-rendered accompaniment, 
and as I essayed my thanks and ventured to praise her 
singing, she lifted her clear eyes to mine, saying, in an 
undertone : 

"Don't think me odd, or too curious but will you 
answer a question frankly?" 

I promised, recklessly; and she ran her pretty fingers 
over the keys, drowning our voices, for other ears, under 
the soft ripple of the notes, while she questioned and I re- 

" As a stranger, and an unprejudiced person," she began, 
"how does this shameful charge against Dr. Bethel appear 
to you? Judging him as men judge men, do you think he 
could be guilty of such a deed ?" 

" Judging him by my limited knowledge of human na- 
ture," I replied, "I should say that Dr. Bethel is incapa- 
ble of baseness in any form. In this case, he is certainly 

She looked thoughtfully down at the white, gliding 
fingers, and said, 

"We have seen so much of Dr. Bethel since he came to 
Trafton, that he seems quite like an old friend, and be- 


cause of his being associated with father, it makes his 
trouble almost a personal matter. I do hope it will end 
without further complications." 

She looked up in my face as if hoping that my judg- 
ment accorded with her wish, but I made no reply, 
finding silence easier and pleasanter than equivocation 
when dealing witli a nature so frank and fearlessly 

The game of whist being at an end, Miss Manvers arose 
almost immediately and declared it time to go. She had 
sent her phaeton home, her house being less than a quarter 
of a mile from Dr. Barnard's, and according to the custom 
of informal Traftou, I promptly offered myself as escort, 
and was promptly and smilingly accepted. 

"What a day this has been," said Miss Manvers, as the 
doctor's iron gate closed behind us. " Such a terrible 
charge to bring against Dr. Bethel. Do you really think," 
and, spite her evident intention to make the question sound 
common-place, I could detect the genuine anxiety in it, 
"Do you really think that it will injure his practice to 
the extent of driving him from Trafton?" 

"You heard what he said, Miss Manvers." 

" Oh, yes but if I am rightly informed, Dr. Bethel is, 
in a measure at least, dependent on his practice. Is not 
this so ?" 

"You are better advised than I, Miss Manvers; I know 
so little of Dr. Bethel." 

"Candidly, now," she said, " as if I were not Miss Manvers, but 
a man to be trusted. Do you think it impossible that Dr. Bethel 
lias done this thing? page 129. 


A CUP OF TEA. 129 

"And yet you were his warmest champion to-day." 
"I assure you I felt quite cool/' I laughed. "I should 
have done as much for the merest stranger, under the same 

"Then you are not prejudiced in his favor?" 
" I am not prejudiced at all. I like Bethel." 
" And so do I," replied the heiress, heartily, " and I like 
the spirit he shows in this matter. Is not this a exhum- 
ing of a subject, a frequent occurrence?" 

"I mean is it not often done by medical men?" 
" By them, or persons employed by them. I suppose so." 
She drew a little nearer, lifting an earnest face to meet 
my gaze. 

"Candidly, now," she said, "as if I were not Miss 
Manvers, but a man to be trusted. DJ you think it im- 
possible that Dr. Bethel has done this thing. Viewed 
from a scientific and practical standpoint, does such a deed 
appear to you to be the horrible thing some seem to 
think it?" 

What spirit prompted my answer? I never knew just 
what impelled me, but T looked down into the pretty, up- 
turned face, looked straight into the dark, liquid eyes, and 
answered : 

" Candidly, Miss Manvers as you are certainly as much 
to be trusted as if you were a man when I went to Bethel's 

defense, I went supposing that, for the benefit of science 



and the possible good of his fellow-beings, \\ehad exhumed 
the body." 

She drew a short, quick breath. 

" And you have changed your opinion ?" she half as- 
serted, half inquired. 

I laid the fingers of my gloved left hand lightly upon 
hers, as it rested on my arm, and bent lower toward the 
glowing brunette face as I answered : 

" I have not said so." 

She dropped her eyes and mused for a moment, then 

"Do you think he will actually call in a detective to 
to make his innocence seem more probable ?" 

" I hope he will not," I replied, sincerely this time, but 
with a hidden meaning. 

"I don't think that Mr. Beale will desire further inves- 
tigation. The matter will die out, undoubtedly. Mr. 
.Barnard is a man of powerful influence in the community, 
and 'Squire Brookhouse will use his influence in behalf of 
Dr. Bethel, I am sure." Then, looking up again, quickly : 
"Do you not admire Miss Barnard?" 

" Miss Barnard is ' a thing of beauty/ " I rejoined, sen- 
tentiously ; then, with a downward glance that pointed my 
sentence, "I admire all lovely women." 

She laughed lightly, but said no more of Miss Barnard, 
or Dr. Bethel, and we parted with some careless badinage, 
supplemented by her cordial hope that T would prolong my 
stay in Trafton, and that she should see me often at The Hill, 

A CUP OF TEA. 131 

Going slowly homeward, through the August darkness, 
I mentally voted the treasure-ship heiress a clever, agree- 
able, and charming young lady, and spent some time in 
trying to decide whether her delightful cordiality was a 
token that I had pleased, or only amused her. Such is the 
vanity of man! 

I found Carnes wide awake, smoking and waiting. 

" Have ye done wid yer gallivantin' ?" queried he, the 
instant I made my appearance. " Now, thin, be shquare ; 
which is the purtyest gurl ?" 

" How do you know there were two, sir ?" 

" Inshtinct," he retorted, shamelessly. " I knew by the 
peculiar feelin' av the cords av me arums. I say, what a 
thunderin' lot o' snarly bushes old Barnyard kapes about 
his windys!" 

" What ! you were up there ?" I cried, in astonish- 

" Worrunt I," he retorted, complacently. " An' 1 
wasn't the only one !" 

" Carnes !" 

" Och, take off yer mittens an' sit down," he said, grin- 
ning offensively at my mighty efforts to draw off a pair of 
tight and moist kid gloves. " AVarn't I up there, an' I 
could ave told ye all about the purty gals mysilf, an' -what 
sort av blarney ye gave till em both, if it had not been fer 
the imirtherin' baste of a shnake as got inter the scrubbery 
ahead av me." 


I threw aside the damp gloves, and seated myself directly 
iii front of him. 

" Now, talk business," I said, impatiently. " It's getting 
late, and there's a good deal to be said." 

Carnes reached out for the pipe which he had laid aside 
at my entrance, lighted it with due deliberation, and then 
said, with no trace of his former absurdity : 

" I don't know what sent me strolling and smoking up 
toward Dr. Barnard's place, but I did go. My pipe went 
out, and I stopped to light it, stepping off the sidewalk just 
where the late lilacs hang over the fence at the foot of the 
garden. While I stood there, entirely hidden by the dark- 
ness and the shade, a man came walking stealthily down 
the middle of the road. His very gait betrayed the sneak, 
and I followed him, forgetting my pipe and keeping to the 
soft grass. He seemed to know just where to go for, 
although he moved cautiously, there was no hesitation. 
Well, he passed the gate, climbed the fence, sneaked up to 
the front of the house, skulking between the trees and rose 
bushes directly underneath the parlor window. I took the 
bearings as well as I could from a distance, and I made up 
my mind that the fellow, if he heard anything, could hardly 
catch the thread of the discourse, and I reckon I was right 
in my conclusions for, after a good deal of prospecting 
around, he sneaked away as he came, and I followed him 
back to Porter's store." 

"And you knew him?" I questioned, hastily. 

"Well he passed the gale, climbed the fence, sneaked up to the 
front of the house, skulking between the trees and rose bushes di- 
rectly underneath the parlor window." page 132. 


A CUP OF TEA. 135 

" I used to know him," said Carnes, with a comical wink, 
" but recently I've cut his acquaintance." 

For a moment we stared at each other silently, then I 
asked, abruptly : 

" Old man, do you think it worth our while to go into 
this resurrection business?" 

"What for?" 

" To satisfy ourselves as regards Bethel's part in it." 

" You needn't go into it on my account," replied Games, 
crossing his legs and clasping his two hands behind his 
head; " I'm satisfied." 

"As how?" 

"He never did it." 

"Ah ! how do you reason the case?" 

"First, he isn't a fool; second, if he had taken the body 
he would have made use of it that night ; it was fast de- 
composing, and before to-night would be past pleasant hand- 
ling. Then he, being called away, if he had instructed 
others to disinter the body, would never have instructed 
them to hide it on his own premises, much less to disrobe 
it for no purpose whatever. Then, last and most conclusive, 
there's the pick and spade." 

"And what of them?" 

"This of them," unclasping his hands, setting his two 
feet squarely on the floor, and bringing his palms down 
upon his knees. "You know old Harding, the hardware 


I noclded. Old Harding was the elder brother of the 
Trafton farmer who had excited my eagerness to see Trafton 
by discussing its peculiarities on the railway train. 

"Well," leaning toward me and dropping out his words 
in stiff staccato. "After the crowd had left Jim Long 
and myself in possession of the doctor's premises, old 
Harding came back. I saw that he wanted to talk with 
Jim, and I went out into the yard. Presently the two 
went into the barn, and I skulked around till I got directly 
behind the window where those tools were found. And 
here's what I heard, stripped of old I lard ing's profanity,and 
Jim's cranky comments. Last year Hard ing's store was 
visited by burglars, and those identical tools were taken 
out of it along with many other things. You observed 
that they were quite new. Harding said he could swear 
to the tools. Now, if others had exhumed the body for the 
doctor, they would not have left their tools in his stable and 
in so conspicuous a place. If the doctor exhumed it, how 
did he obtain those tools ? They were stolen before he came 
to Trafton." 

" Then here is another thing," I began, as Carnes paused. 
"A man of Bethel's sense would not take such a step with- 
out a sufficient reason. Now, Dr. Barnard, who certainly 
is authority in the matter, says positively that there were 
no peculiar symptoms about the child's sickness; that it 
was a very ordinary case ; therefore, Dr. Bethel, who can 
buy all his skeletons without incurring disagreeable labor 

A CUP OP TEA. 137 

and risk, could have had no motive for taking the body." 
" Then you think 

" I think this," I interrupted, being now warm with my 
subject. " Dr. Bethel, who is certainly not a detective, is 
suspected of being one, or feared as one. And this is the 
way his enemies open the war upon him. I think if we 
can find out who robbed that little girl's grave and 
secreted the body so as to throw suspicion upon Bethel, we 
shall be in a fair way to find out what we came here to 
learn, viz., what, and where, and who, are the daring, long 
existing successful robbers that infest Trafton. This is 
their first failure, and why ?" 

" It's easy to guess why," said Carnes, gravely. " The 
old head was out of this business ; for some reason it has 
been entrusted to underlings, and bunglers." 

" But won't old Harding give these rascals warning by 
claiming his stolen property ?" I asked, dubiously. 

"Not he," replied Carnes. "Hard ing's too cute and 
too stingy for that. He reasons that the thieves, having 
begun to display their booty, may grow more reckless. He 
is one of the few who think that the body was not placed 
in the hay by the doctor's hirelings ; he intends to keep 
silent for the present and look sharp for any more of his 
stolen merchandize." 

" Then, Carnes, we have no bars to our present progress. 
To-morrow we get down to actual business." 

Again we sat late into the night discussing and re-ar- 


ranging our plans, only separating when we had mapped 
out a course which we, in our egotistical blindness, felt as- 
sured was the true route toward success ; and seeking our 
slumbers as blissfully unconscious of what really was to 
transpire as the veriest dullard in all Trafton. 

A BIG HAUL. 139 



When I awoke next morning, I was surprised to find 
my erratic body-servant not in attendance. 

Games, for convenience, and because of lack of modern 
hotel accommodations, occupied a cot in my room, which was 
the largest in the house, and sufficiently airy to serve for 
two. Usually, he was anything but a model serving man 
in the matter of rising and attending to duty, for, invari- 
ably, I was out of bed an hour before him, and had made 
my toilet to the music of his nasal organ, long before he 
broke his morning nap. 

This morning, however, Carnes was not snoring peace- 
fully on his cot underneath the open north window, and 
I arose and made a hasty toilet, feeling sure that something 
unusual had called him from his bed thus early. 

Wondering much, I descended to the office, where an 
animated buzz warned me that something new and start- 
ling was under discussion. 

Usually at that hour this sanctum was untenanted, save 
for the youth who served as a combination of porter and 
clerk, and perhaps a stray boarder or two, but this morn- 
ing a motley crowd filled the room. Not a noisy, bluster- 


ing crowd, but a gathering of startled, perplexed, angry 
looking men, each seeming hopeful of hearing something, 
rather than desirous of saying much. 

Jim Long, the idle, every-where-present Jim, stood near 
the outer door, looking as stolid and imperturbable as usual, 
and smoking, as a matter of course. 

I made my way to him at once. 

" What is it, Long," I asked, in a low tone; " something 
new, or 

"Nothin' new, by any means," interrupted Jim, sub- 
limely indifferent to the misfortune of his neighbors. 
" Xothin' new at all, Cap'n; the Trafton Bandits have been 
at it again, that's all." 

"Trafton Bandits! you mean " 

"Thieves! Robbers! KuKlux! They've made another 
big haul." 

"Last night?" 

"Last night, Cap'n." 

"Of what sort?" 

Jim chuckled wickedly. 

" The right sort to git money out of. Hopper's two- 
forty's, that was in trainin' for the races. Meacham's 
matched sorrels. 'Squire Brookhouse's bay Morgans." 

"What! six blooded horses at one haul !" 


Jim's coolness was aggravating ; I turned away from 
him, and mingled with the group about the clerk's desk. 

" Nothin' new at all, Cap'n; the Trafton Bandits have been at it 
again that's all." page 140. 


A BIG HAUL,. 143 

" Meacham '11 suicide ; he refused a fancy price for them 
sorrels not two weeks ago." 

"Wonder what old Brookhouse will do about it?" 

"There'll be some tall rewards offered." 

" Much good that'll do. We don't get back stolen horses 
so easy in this county." 

" It'll break Hopper up ; lie had bet his pile on the two- 
forty's, and bid fair to win." 

"One of 'em was goin' to trot against Arch Brookhouse's 
mare, Polly, an' they had big bets up. Shouldn't wonder 
if Arch was glad to be let out so easy. Polly never could 
outgo that gray four-year-old." 

"Think not?" 

"Brookhouse lias telegraphed to his lawyers already, to 
send on a couple of detectives." 

"Bully for Brookhouse." 

" Don't yell till yer out of the woods. Detectives ain't 
so much more' n common folks. I don't go much on 'em 
myself. What we want is vigilants." 

" Pooh ! neither detectives nor vigilants can't cure 

These and like remarks greeted my ears in quick suc- 
cession, and furnished me mental occupation. I lingered 
for half an hour among the eager, excited gossippers, and 
then betook myself to the dining-room and partook of my 
morning meal in solitude. With my food for the body, I 
had also food for thought. 


Here, indeed, was work for the detective. I longed for 
the instant presence of Games, that we might discuss the 
situation, and I felt no little annoyance at the thought of 
the two detectives who might come in upon us at the bid- 
ding of 'Squire Brookhouse. 

Games was in the office when I again entered it, and 
giving him a sign to follow me, I went up to my room. 
It was situated in awing of the building most remote from 
the office, and the hum of many voices did not penetrate 
so far. 

The stillness seemed more marked by contrast with the 
din I had just left, as I sat waiting. 

Presently Games came in, alert, quick of movement, arid 
having merged the talkative Irishman in the active, cautious 

"This looks like business;" he began, dragging a chair 
forward, and seating himself close to me. "I chanced to 
wake up a little after sunrise, and heard some men talking 
outside, near my window. They were going through the 
iane, and I only caught the words: "Yes, sir; stolen last 
night ; six of them." Somehow the tone, quite as much as 
the words, convinced me that something was wrong. I 
got up and hurried out, thinking it hardly worth while to 
disturb you until I had learned more of the fellow's mean- 
ing. Well, sir, it's a fact; six valuable pieces of horseflesh 
have been taken from under our very noses." 

" Have you got any particulars ?" 

A BIG HAUL. 145 

"Well, yes, as much as is known, I think. Hopper, as 
you remember, lives on the hill just at the edge of the town. 
His man sleeps in the little office adjoining the stable. It 
seems the fellow, having no valuables to lose, let the win- 
dow swing open and slept near it. He was chloroformed, 
and is under the doctor's care this morning. Meacham's 
stable is very near the house, but no one was disturbed by 
the robbers ; they threw his dog a huge piece of meat that 
kept his jaws occupied. I heard Arch Brookhouse talking 
with a lot of men ; he says the Morgans were in a loose box 
near the rear door of the stable, and that two men were 
sleeping in the room above the front wing. He says they 
have telegraphed to the city for detectives." 

"Yes, I'm sorry for that, but it's to be expected. 

" What shall we do about it ?" 

"As we are working for our own satisfaction and have 
little at stake, I am in favor of keeping quiet until we see 
who they bring down. If it's some of our own fellows, or 
any one that we know to be skillful, we can then turn in 
and help them, or retire from the field without making 
ourselves known, as we think best. If the fellows are 
strangers " 

" Then we will try the merits of the case with them," 
broke in Carnes. " I tell you, old man, I hate to quit the 
field now." 

" So do I," I acknowledged. " We must manage to 

know when these new experts arrive, and until we have 

10 *7 


found them out, can do little but keep our eyes and ears 
open. It won't do to betray too much interest just yet." 

Carnes wheeled about in his chair and turned his eyes 
toward the street. 

" I wish this thing had not happened just yet," he said, 
moodily. " Last night our plans were laid so smoothly. 
I don't see how we can even follow up this grave-robbing 
business, until these confounded detectives have shown 
their hand." 

" Carnes," I replied, solemnly, " do be a philosopher. 
If ever two conceited detectives got themselves into a 
charming muddle, we're those two, at present. If we don't 
come out of this escapade covered with confusion, we shall 
have cause to be thankful. 

My homily had its intended effect. Carnes wheeled 
upon me with scorn upon his countenance. 

"The mischief fly away wid yer croakin'," he cried. 
" An' it's lyin' ye know ye arc. Is it covered wid confu- 
sion ye'd be afther havin' us, bad cess to ye? Av we quit 
this nest we'd be drappin' the natest job two lads ever 
tackled. Ye can quit av ye like, but I'm shtayin', avan 
if the ould boy himself comes down to look iutil the 

By " the ould boy," Carnes meant our Chief, and not, as 
might be supposed, his Satanic majesty. 

I smiled at the notion of our Chief in the midst of 
these Trafton perplexities, and, letting Games' tirade re- 

A BIG HAUL. 147 

main unanswered, took from my pocket the before men- 
tioned note book and began a new mental calculation. 

" There goes the ould identical Mephistophiles I used 
to see in my fairy book/' broke out Carnes from his sta- 
tion by the window, where he had stood for some moments 
silently contemplating whatever might present itself to 
view in the street below. " Look at 'im now ! Av I 
were an artist, wouldn't I ax 'im to sit for ' Satan'." 

I looked out and saw 'Squire Brookhouse passing on the 
opposite side of the street, and looking closer, I decided 
that Games' comparison was not inapt. 

In the days of his youth 'Squire Brookhouse might have 
been a handsome man, when his regular features were 
rounded and colored by twenty-two Summers, or perhaps 
more ; but he must have grown old while yet young, for 
his cadaverous cheeks were the color of most ancient parch- 
ment ; his black eyes were set in hollow, dusky caverns ; 
his mouth was sunken, the thin lips being drawn and 
colorless. His upper lip was smooth shaven, but the chin 
was decorated by a beard, long but thin, and of a peculiar 
lifeless black. His eyebrows were long and drooped above 
the cavernous eyes. His hair was straight and thin, 
matching the beard in color, and he wore it so long that it 
touched the collar of his coat, the ends fluttering dismally 
in the least gust of wind. He was tall, and angular to 
emaciation, with narrow, stooping shoulders, and the slow, 
gliding gait of an Indian. He was uniformly solemn, it 


would be a mistake to say dignified ; preternaturally silent, 
going and coming like a shadow among his loquacious 
neighbors; always intent upon his own business and show- 
ing not the least interest in anything that did not in some 
way concern himself. Living plainly, dressing shabbily, 
hoarding his riches, grinding his tenants, superintending 
the business of his large stock-farm, he held himself aloof 
from society, and had never been seen within the walls of 
a church. 

And yet this silent, unsocial man was a power in Traf- 
ton ; his word of commendation was eagerly sought for ; 
his frown was a thing to be dreaded; his displeasure to be 
feared. Whom he would he elected to office, and whom 
he would not, came somehow to be disapproved by all 

"He has certainly an uncommon ensemble" I said, look- 
ing out over Games' shoulder, " not a handsome man, to 
be sure, but one toward whom you would turn in a crowd 
to take the second look at. I wonder where Jim Long 
would place him in the scale of Trafton weights and 

"Not under the head of the model Traftonite," replied 
Carnes, still gazing after the receding figure. "He's 
guiltless of the small hands and feet, perfumed locks and 
' more frill to the square yard of shirt front' required by 
Jim for the making of his model. By-the-bye, what the 
'Squire lacks is amply made up by the son. When Jim 

A BIG HAUL. 149 

pictured the model Traftonite, I think he must have had 
Arch Brookhouse in his eye." 

"I think so, too; a nature such as Jim's would be 
naturally antagonistic to any form of dandyism. Young 
Brookhouse is a fastidious dresser, and, I should say, a 
thoroughly good fellow." 

" As good fellows go," said Games, sententiously. " But 
dropping the dandy, tell me what are we going to do with 
Jim Long?" 

" It's a question I've been asking myself," responded I, 
turning away from the window, " Jim is not an easy con- 
undrum to solve." 

" About as easy as a Chinese puzzle," grumbled Carnes, 
discontentedly. " Nevertheless, I tell you, old man, before 
we get much further on our way we've got to take his 

" I quite agree with you, and the moment the way seems 
clear, we must do something more." 

"What's that?" 

" We must explore that south road, every foot of it, for 
twenty miles at least." 



The first train due from the city, by which, supposing 
'Squire Brookhouse's message to be promptly received, and 
his commission promptly executed, it would be possible for 
the looked-for detectives to arrive, would be due at mid- 
night. It was a fast, through express, and arriving so late, 
when the busy village gossips were, or should be, peace- 
fully sleeping, it seemed to us quite probable that they 
would come openly by that train. 

Of course we expected them to assume disguise, or to 
have some plausible business in the town, quite foreign to 
their real errand thither ; but, equally, of course we expect- 
ed to be able to penetrate any disguise that might be as- 
sumed by parties known to us, or to see beneath any busi- 
ness subterfuge adopted by strangers. 

Until midnight then we had only to wait, and employ 
our time profitably, if .we could, w r hich seemed hardly 

I remained in my room for the remainder of the morn- 
ing, and Carnes went out among the gossipers, in search of 
any scrap that he might seize upon and manipulate into a 
thing of meaning. 


At the dinner table I met Dr. Bethel. He was his 
usual calm, courteous self, seeming in no wise ruffled or 
discomposed by the events of the previous day. 

We chatted together over our dinner, and together left 
the table. In the hall the doctor turned to face me, 
saying : 

" If you have nothing better to occupy your time, come 
down to my house with me. I shall enjoy your company." 

I could scarcely have found a way of passing the after- 
noon more to my taste, just then, and I accepted his invita- 
tion promptly. 

Outside the doctor's dwelling, quiet and order reigned, 
thanks to Jim Long's officious friendliness, but within was 
still the confusion of yesterday; Jim, seemingly, having 
exhausted himself in the hanging of the doctor's front 

Bethel looked about the disordered rooms, and laughed 
the laugh ot the philosopher. 

" After all, a man can not be thoroughly angry at the 
doings of a mob," he said, stooping to gather up some 
scattered papers. " It's like scattering shot ; the charge 
loses its force; there is no center to turn upon. I was in 
a rage yesterday, but it was rather with the author of the 
mischief credited to me, than these fanatical would-be 
avengers, and then after due reflection it was quite 
natural that these village simpletons should suspect me, was 
it not?" 


"Candidly, yes," I replied ; "and that only proves the 
cunning of the enemy who planned this business for your 

Bethel, who was stooping to restore a chair to its proper 
position, lifted his head to favor me with one sharp glance.. 
Then he brought the chair up with a jerk ; and, taking 
another with the unoccupied hand, said : 

" This is hardly a picture of comfort. Fortunately, 
there is a condensed lawn and excellent shade outside. 
Let's smoke a cigar under the trees, and discuss this matter 

In another moment we were sitting cosily, vis-d-vis, on 
the tiny grass plot, styled by the doctor a " condensed 
lawn," with a huge clump of lilacs at our backs, and the 
quivering leaves of a young maple above our heads. 

The doctor produced some excellent cigars, which we 
lighted, and smoked for a time in silence. Then he said : 

" I scarcely flatter myself that I have seen the end of 
this business. I quite expected the raid of yesterday to be 
followed by a formal accusation and a warrant to-day, in 
which case " 

" In which case," I interrupted, " I will be responsible 
for your future good behavior, and go your bail." 

" Thank you," he said, quite seriously. " I appreciate 
your championship, but confess it surprises me. Why 
have you voted me guiltless, in opposition to the expressed 
opinions ot two-thirds of Trafton ?" 


" Perhaps," I replied, " it is because I am not a Traf- 
tonite, and am therefore without prejudice. To be per- 
fectly frank, I did suppose you to be implicated in the 
business when I came here yesterday ; when I witnessed 
your surprise, and heard your denial, I wavered ; when I 
saw the buried clothing, I doubted ; when the body was 
discovered, I was convinced that a less clever head and 
more bungling hand than yours, had planned and executed 
the resurrection ; it was a blunder which I could not credit 
you with making. If I had a doubt, Barnard's testimony 
would have laid it." 

" Thank you," said Bethel, with real warmth. " But 

I might have had confederates." 

"No. Doctor Barnard's statement as to the manner of 
the child's death deprives you of a motive for the deed ; 
then the too-easily found tools, and the stripped-off cloth ing 
could hardly be work of your planning or ordering. De- 
pend upon it, when Trafton has done a little calm think- 
ing, it will see this matter as I see it." 

" Possibly," with a shade of skepticism in his voice. 
"At least, when I have unearthed these plotters against 
me, they will see the matter as it is, and that day I intend 
to bring to pass." 

The fire was nearly extinct on the tip of his cigar, he re 
placed it in his mouth and seemingly only intent upon re 
kindling the spark; this done, he smoked in silence a mo 
ment and then said. 


"As to the author of the mischief, or his motive, I am 
utterly at a loss. I have given up trying to think out the 
mystery. I shall call in the help of the best detective I 
can find, and see what he makes of the matter." 

Gracious heavens ! here was another lion coming down 
upon myself and my luckless partner ! Trafton was about 
to be inundated with detectives. My brain worked hard 
and fast. Something must be done, and that speedily, or 
Carnes and I must retreat mutely, ingloriously. 

AVhile I smoked in a seemingly careless reverie, I was 
weighing the pros and cons of a somewhat uncertain ven- 
ture. Should I let this third detective come and risk a 
collision, or should I make a clean breast of it, avow my 
identity, explain the motive of my sojourn in Trafton, and 
ask Bethel to trust his case to Carnes and myself? Almost 
resolved upon this latter course, I began to feel my way. 

"A good detective ought to sift the matter, I should 
think," I said. "I suppose you have your man in view?" 

"Candidly, no," he replied, with a dubious shake of the 
head. " I'm afraid I am not well posted as regards the 
police, never expecting to have much use for the gentry. 
I must go to the city and hunt up the right man." 

I drew a breath of relief. 

"That will consume some valuable time," I said, 

"Yes, a day to go; another, perhaps, before I find my 
man. I shall go in person, because I fancy that I shall be 


able to give something like a correct guess as to the man's 
ability, if I can have a square look at his face." 

I blew a cloud of smoke before my own face to conceal a 

"You are a physiognomist, then?" 

"Not a radical one; but I believe there is much to be 
learned by the careful study of the human countenance." 

" Give me a test of your ability," I said, jestingly, and 
drawing my chair nearer to him. " Have I the material in 
me for a passable detective?" 

" My dear sir," he replied, gravely, " if I had not given 
you credit for some shrewdness, I should hardly have made 
you, even in a slight degree, my confidante ; if you were a 
detective I think you might be expected to succeed." 

"Thanks, doctor; being what I am I can, perhaps, give 
you the key to this mystery." 


"Yes, I," tossing away my cigar and now fully resolved 
to confide in the doctor. "I think I have stumbled upon 
the clue you require. I will tell you how." 

There was a sharp click at the gate ; I closed my lips 
hurriedly, and we both turned to look. 

'Squire Brookhouse, if possible a shade more solemn of 
countenance than usual, was entering the doctor's door- 

My host arose instantly to receive, but did not advance 
to meet, his latest guest. 


'Squire Brookhouse accepted the chair proffered him, 
having first given me a nod of recognition, and, while 
Bethel entered the house for another chair, sat stiffly, let- 
ting his small, restless black eyes rove about, taking in his 
surroundings with quick, furtive glances, and I fancied that 
he felt a trifle annoyed at my presence. 

"You seem quite serene here, in spite of yesterday's 
fracas," he said to me, iu what he no doubt intended for 
the ordinary affable conversational tone. 

He possessed a naturally harsh, rasping voice, not loud, 
but, none the less, not pleasant to the ear, and this, coupled 
with his staccato manner of jerking out the beginnings of 
his sentences, and biting off the ends of them, would have 
given, even to gentle words, the sound of severity. 

While I replied, I was inwardly wondering what had 
called out this unusual visit, for I saw at once, by the look 
on Bethel's face, that it was unusual, and, just then, a 
trifle unwelcome. 

We were not left long in the dark. Scarcely had the 
doctor rejoined us and been seated before the 'squire gave 
us an insight into the nature of his business. 

" I am sorry our people gave you so much trouble yes- 
terday, doctor," he began, in his stiff staccato. "Their 
conduct was as discreditable to the town as it was uncom- 
plimentary to you." 

" One should always take into consideration the character 
of the elements that assails him," replied Bethel, coolly. 


"I was comforted to know that my assailants of yesterday 
were notably of the canaille of the town; the majority, of 
the rough, vulgar excitables, who, while not being, or 
meaning to be, absolutely vicious, are, because of their in- 
herent ignorance, easily played upon and easily led, espec- 
ially toward mischief. The leaders most certainly were 
not of the lower classes, but of the lowest. On the whole, 
I have experienced no serious discomfort, 'Squire Brook- 
house, nor do I anticipate any lasting injury to my prac- 
tice by this attempt to shake the public faith in me." 

This reply surprised me somewhat, and I saw that the 
'squire was, for the moment, nonplussed. He sat quite 
silent, biting his thin under lip, and with his restless eyes 
seemed trying to pierce to the doctor's innermost thought. 

The silence became to me almost oppressive before he 
said, shifting his position so as to bring me more promi- 
nently within his range of vision : 

" I hope you are right ; I suppose you are. Arch dis- 
displeased me very much by not coming to your aid ; he 
might, perhaps, have had some influence upon a portion 
of the mob. I regret to learn that one or two of my men 
were among them. I believe Arch tried to argue against 
the movement before they came down upon you ; he came 
home thoroughly disgusted and angry. For myself, I was 
too much indisposed to venture out yesterday. 

He drew himself a trifle more erect ; this long speech 
seeming to be something well off his mind, 


"I was well supported, I assure you," replied Bethel, 
courteously. " But I appreciate your interest in my wel- 
fare. Your influence in Trafton in considerable, I know." 

"Hardly that; hardly that, sir. However, such as it 
is, it is yours, if you need it. My call was merely to ask 
if you anticipated any further trouble, or if I could serve 
you in any way, in case you desired to make an investigation." 

Bethel hesitated a moment, seemingly at a loss for a reply. 

In that moment, while the 'squire's sharp eyes were fixed 
upon him, I lifted my hand, removed my cigar from my 
mouth with a careless gesture, and, catching the doctor's 
eye, laid a finger on my lip. In another instant I was 
puffing away at my weed, and the keen, quick eyes of 
'Squire Brookhouse were boring me clean th rough. 

" Thank you," said Bethel, after this pause, and without 
again glancing at me. "You are very good." 

" We seem to be especially honored by rogues of various 
sorts," went on the 'squire. " Of course you have heard 
of last night's work, and of my loss." 

The doctor bowed his head. 

" This thing is becoming intolerable," went on the usually 
silent man, "and I intend to make a stanch fight. If it's 
in the power of the detectives, I mean to have my horses 

" You will bestow a blessing upon the community if you 
succeed in capturing the thieves," said Bethel. 

Then the 'squire turned toward me, saying : 

"We are a victimized community, sir. I suppose you liave 
found that out?" page 161. 



" We are a victimized community, sir. I suppose you 
have found that out?" 

" Judging from the events of yesterday and last night, I 
should think so," I replied, with an air of indifferent in- 
terest. " From the conversation I heard at the hotel to- 
day, I infer that this thieving business is no new thing." 

"No new thing, sir." 

I had no desire to participate in the conversation, so 
made no further comment, and the 'squire turned again to 

"I suppose you intend to investigate this matter?" 

Bethel looked up to the maple, and down at the grass. 

" I have scarcely decided," he replied, slowly. " I have 
hardly had time to consider." 

"Ah! I supposed, from what I heard in the town, that 
you had made a decided stand." 

"So far as this, I have," replied Bethel, gravely. "I 
am determined not to let these under miners succeed in their 

" Then you have fathomed their purpose ?" 

"I suppose it is to drive me from Trafton?" 

" You intend to remain ?" 

"Most assuredly. I shall reside and practice in Trafton 
so long as I have one patient left who has faith in me." 

" That would be an unprofitable game financially." 

" I think not, in the end." 

Again the 'squire seemed at a Ibss for words. 


I hugged myself with delight. The dialogue pleased me. 

"I like your spirit," he said, at length. "I should also 
like to see this matter cleared up." He rose slowly, pull- 
ing his hat low down over his cavernous eyes. "I have 
sent for detectives," he said, slightly lowering his tone. 
"Of course I wish their identity and whereabouts to remain 
a secret among us. If you desire to investigate and wish 
any information or advice from them, or if I can aid you 
in any ivay, don't hesitate to let me know." 

Dr. Bethel thanked him warmly, assuring him that if he 
had need of a friend he would not forget his very gener- 
ously proffered service, and, with his solemn face almost 
funereal in its expression, 'Squire Brookhouse bowed to me, 
and, this time escorted by Bethel, walked slowly toward 
the gate. 

A carriage came swiftly down the road from the direc- 
tion of the village. It halted just as they had reached the 

I saw a pale face look out, and then 'Squire Brookhouse 
approached and listened to something said by this pale-faced 
occupant. Meantime Bethel, without waiting for further 
words with 'Squire Brookhouse, came back to his seat under 
the trees. 

In a moment the carriage moved on, going rapidly as 
before, and the 'squire came back through the little gate 
and approached the doctor, wearing now upon his face a 
look of unmistakable sourtless. 


" Doctor," he said, in his sharpest staccato, " my young- 
est scapegrace lias met with an accident, and is going home 
with a crippled leg. I don't know how bad the injury is, 
but you had better come at once; he seems in great dis- 

The doctor turned to me with a hesitating movement 
which I readily understood. He was loth to leave our in- 
terrupted conversation unfinished for an indefinite time. 

I arose at once. 

"Don't let my presence interfere with your duties," I 
said. "You and I can finish our smoke to-morrow, 

He shot me a glance which assured me that he compre- 
hended my meaning. 

Five minutes later, Dr. Bethel and 'Squire Brookhouse 
were going up the hill toward the house of the latter, while 
I, still smoking, sauntered in the opposite direction, lazily, 
as beseemed an idle man. 

I felt very well satisfied just then, and was rather glad 
that my disclosure to the doctor had been interrupted. A 
new thought had lodged in my brain, and I wished to con- 
sult Carnes. 

Just at sunset, while I sat on the piazza of the hotel, 
making a pretence of reading the Trafton Weekly News, I 
saw Charlie Harris, the operator, coming down the street 
with a yellow envelope in his hand. 

He came up the steps of the hotel, straight to me, and I 


noted a mischievous smile on his face as he proffered the 
envelope, saying: 

"I am glad to find you so easily. I should have felt it 
my duty to ransack the town in order to deliver that." 

I opened the telegram in silence, and read these words : 

The widow B. is in town and anxious to see you. T. C. 

Then I looked up into the face of young Harris, and 
smiled in my turn. 

"Harris," I said, " this is a very welcome piece of news, 
and I am much obliged to you/' 

"I knew you would be," laughed the jolly fellow. "I 
love to serve the ladies. And what shall I say in return?" 

"Nothing, Harris," I responded. "I shall go by the 
first train ; the widow here referred to, is a particular friend 
of mine." 

Harris elevated his eyebrows. 

"In dead earnest, aren't you? Tell me I'll never, 
never give you away, is she pretty ?" 

"Pretty!" I retorted; "Harris, I've a mind to knock 
you down, for applying such a weak word to her. She's 

"Whew," he exclaimed, " It's a bad case, then. When 
shall we see you again in Trafton ?" 

"That depends upon the lady. I'll never leave the city 
while she desires me to stay." 

After a little more banter of this sort, Harris returned 


to his duties, and I went tip-stairs, well pleased with the 
manner in which he had interpreted my Chiefs telegram, 
and wondering not a little what had brought the widow 
Ballon to the city. 

Carnes and I had another long talk that night, while 
waiting the time for the arrival of the city express. 

I told him that I was called to the city in the interest 
of the case I had abandoned after getting my wound, and 
that unless my continued presence there was absolutely in- 
dispensable, I would return in three days, at the farthest. 

I gave him a detailed account of my visit to Bethel, with 
its attendant circumstances. 

"Bethel will hardly make a decided move in the matter 
for a day or two, I think," I said, after we had discussed 
the propriety of taking the doctor into our counsel. " I 
will write him a note which you shall deliver, and the rest 
must wait." 

I wrote as follows : 


Dear Sir Am just in receipt of a telegram which calls me to the 
city. I go by the early train, as there is a lady in the case. Shall 
return in a few days, I trust, and then hope to finish our interrupted 
conversation. I ildrik your success will be more probable and 
speedy if you delay all action for the present. 

This is in confidence. , r 

Yours fraternally, etc., etc. 

"There," I said, folding the note, "That is making the 
truth tell a falsehood." And I smiled as I pictured the 


" huly in the case," likely to be conjured up by the imagi- 
nations of Harris and Dr. Bethel, and contrasted her 
charms with the sharp features, work-hardened hands, and 
matter-of-fact head, of Mrs. Ballon. 

Just ten minutes before twelve o'clock Carries and my- 
self dropped noiselessly out of our chamber window, leaving 
a dangling rope to facilitate our return, and took our way 
to the depot to watch for the expected experts. 

Ten minutes later the great fiery eye of the iron horse 
shone upon us from a distance, disappeared behind a curve, 
re-appeared again, and came beaming down to the little 

The train halted for just an instant, then swept on its 

But no passengers were left upon the platform ; our er- 
rand had been fruitless ; the detectives were still among 
the things to be looked for. 

The next morning, before daybreak, i was en route for 
the city. 




Half an hour after my arrival in the city, I was seated 
in the private office of our Chief, with Mrs. Ballou op- 
posite me. 

I had telegraphed from a way station, so that no time 
might be lost. I found the Chief and the lady awaiting 
me ; and, at the first, he had signified his wish that I 
should listen to her story, and then give him my version 
of it. 

"She seems ill at ease with me," he said, "and frankly 
told me that she preferred to make her statement to you. 
Go ahead, Bathurst ; above all we must retain her con- 

Mrs. Ballou looked careworn, and se.emed more nervous 
than I had supposed it in her nature to be. 

She looked relieved at sight of me, and, as soon as we 
were alone, plunged at once into her story, as if anxious to 
get it over, and hear what I might have to say. 

This is what she told me in her own plain, concise, and 
very sensible language, interrupted now and then by my 


brief questions, and her occasional moments of silence, while 
I transferred something to my note-book. 

" I presume you have wanted to know what I did with 
that letter I took/' she began, smiling a little, probably in 
recollection of her adroit theft. "I will tell you why I 
took it. When you first showed it to me, the printed letters 
had a sort of familiar look, but I could not think where I 
had seen them. During the night it seemed to come to 
me, and I got up and went into the parlor." Here she 
hesitated for a moment, and then went on hurriedly : 
" Grace my girl, you know has a large autograph album ; 
she brought it home when she came from the seminary, 
and everybody she meets that can scratch with a pen, must 
write in it. I found this precious album, and in it I found 

She took from her pocket-book a folded paper and put 
it in my hand. It was a leaf torn from an album, and it 
contained a sentimental couplet, printed in large, bold 

I looked at the bit of paper, and then muttering an ex- 
cuse, weiit hurriedly to the outer office. In a moment I 
was back; holding in my hand the printed letter of warning, 
which I had confided to the care of my Chief. 

I sat down opposite Mrs. Ballon with the two documents 
before me, and scrutinized them carefully. 

They were the same. The letter of warning was penciled, 
and bore evidence of having been hastily done; the album 


lines were in ink carefully executed and elaborately finished, 
but the lettering was the same. Making allowances for the 
shading, the flourishes, and the extra precision of the one, 
and looking simply at the formation of the letters, the 
height, width, curves, and spacing of both, and the resem- 
blance was too strong to pass for a mere coincidence. 

I studied the two papers thoughtfully for a few moments, 
then looked at Mrs. Ballon. 

"You should have told me of this at once," I began; 
but she threw up her hand impatiently. 

"Wait," she said, with almost her ordinary brusque- 
ness, seeming to lose her nervousness as she became ab- 
sorbed in the task of convincing me that she thoroughly 
understood herself. "There was no time to compare the 
writing that night. I had not decided -what to do, and I 
was not sure then that they were the same. I left the 
album, just as I found it, and went out and harnessed the 
horses. While I was helping you with your coat, I man- 
aged to get the letter." 

"You were certainly very adroit," I said. "Even now 
I can recall no suspicious movements of yours." 

"I made none," she retorted. "Isaw r where you put 
the letter, and it was easy to get it while helping you." 

She paused a moment, then went on : 

"When I went home, after driving you to the station > 
everybody was asleep. I knew they would be; I always 
have to wake them all, from Fred to the hired girl. I 



waked them as usual that morning, told them that I had 
discharged you for impertinence, and ibr abusing the horses, 
and that settled the matter. In the afternoon the girls 
went over to' Morton's; it's only a mile across the fields, 
and a clear path. I. made up my mind that I'd have them 
safe back again before dark, and I knew where I could 
get a good man to take your place; he was high-priced, 
but 1 knew he was to be trusted, and I had made up my 
mind to keep a close eye on the girls, and to send someone 
with them wherever they -went. After they were gone, I 
took the album to my room, locked Fred out, and compared 
the letter with the album verse. I thought the writing 
was the same." 

She hesitated a moment, brushed her handkerchief across 
her lips, and then went on. 

"I didn't know what to do, nor what to think my first 
thought was to send for you, then T became frightened. I 
did not know what you might trace out, with this clue, and 
I did not know how it might affect my daughter. Grace is 
lively, fond of all kinds of gayety, especially of dancing. 
She is always surrounded with beaux, always has half a 
dozen intimate girl friends on hand, and is constantly on 
the go. There are so many young people about Grove- 
land that picnics, neighborhood dances, croquet parties, 
buggy rides, etc., are plenty ; and then, Grace often has 
visitors from A morn." 

"Where is Amora?" I interrupted. 


" It is about twenty-five miles from Groveland. Grace 
weut to school at Amora." 

I made an entry in my note-book, and then asked : 

" Is there a seminary in Amora ?" 


"How long since your daughter left Amora, Mrs. 
Ballon ?" 

"She was there during the Winter term." 

" Yes. Did Nellie Ewing ever attend school at Amora?" 

" Yes." 


Mrs. Ballon moved uneasily. 

"Nellie and Grace were room-mates last Winter," she 

" And Mamie Rutger ? Was she there, too ?" 

"She began the Winter term, but was expelled." 

"Expelled! For what?" 

" For sauciness and disobedience. Mamie was a spoiled 
child, and not fond of study." 

I wrote rapidly in my note-book, and mentally anathe- 
matized myself, and my employers in the Ewing-Rutger 
case. Why had I not learned before that Nellie Ewing 
and Mamie Rutger were together at Amora ? Why had 
their two fathers neglected to give me so important a piece 
of information? 

Evidently they had not thought of this fact in connec- 
tion with the disappearance of the two girls, or the fact 


that Mamie was expelled from the school may have kept 
Farmer Rutger silent. 

I closed my note-book and asked. 

"Did any other young people from Groveland attend 
the Amora school? Try and be accurate, Mrs. Ballon." 

" Not last Winter," she replied ; " at least, no other girls. 
Johnny La Porte was there." 

" Who is Johnny La Porte?" 

" His father is one of our wealthiest farmers. Johnny 
is an only son. He is a good-looking boy, and a great 
favorite among the young people." 

"Do you know his age?" 

"Not precisely; he is not more than twenty or twenty- 

"Where is Johnny La Porte at present?" 

"At home, on his father's farm." 

"Now, Mrs. Ball ou, tell me who is Miss Amy Holmes?" 

She started and flushed. 

"Another school friend," she replied, in a tone which 
said plainly, "the bottom is reached at last." 

Evidently she expected some comment, but I only said : 

"One more, Mrs. Ballon, why have you held back this 
bit of paper until now ?" 

"lam coming to that," she retorted, "when you have 
done with your questions." 

"I have finished. Proceed now." 

Once more she began : 


"1 was worried and anxious about the papers, but, on 
second thought, I determined to know something more before 
I saw or wrote you. I did not think it best to ask Grace 
any questions ; she is an odd child, and very quick to sus- 
pect anything unusual, and it would be an unusual thing 
for me to seem interested in the autographs. It was two 
days before I found out who wrote the lines in the album. 
I complained of headache that day, and Grace took my 
share of the work herself. Amy was in the parlor reading 
a novel. I went in and talked with her a while, then I 
began to turn over the leaves of the album. When I 
came to the printed lines, I praised their smoothness, and 
then I carelessly asked Amy if she knew what the initials 
A. B. stood for. She looked up at me quickly, glanced at 
the album, hesitated a moment as if thinking, and then 
said : ' Oh, that's Professor Bartlett's printing, I think, 
his first name is Asa. He is an admirable penman.' 

"I don't think Amy remembered the lines, or she would 
not have said that. I don't think Professor Bartlett would 
begin an album verse : ( I drink to the eyes of my school- 
mate, Grace.' I knew that Amy had told a falsehood, and 
I watched her. She took the first opportunity, when slie 
thought I did not see her, to whisper something to Grace. 
I saw that Grace looked annoyed, but Amy laughed, and 
the two seemed to agree upon something. 

" I thought I would come to the city the next day, but 
in the morning my boy was very sick; he was sick for 


more than two weeks, and I had no time to think of any- 
thing else. Amy helped Grace, and was so kind and 
useful that I almost forgave her for telling me a fib. I 
had sent your letter back during Fred's illness, and, when 
he began to mend, I thought the matter over and over. I 
knew it would be useless to question Grace, and I did not 
know what harm or scandal I might bring upon my own 
daughter by bringing the matter to your notice. I tried 
to convince myself that the similarity of the printing was 
accidental, and, as I had not the letter to compare with the 
album, it was easier to believe so. I concluded to wait, 
but became very watchful. 

" One night Fred brought in the mail ; there was a letter 
for Amy; she opened it and began to read, then she uttered 
a quick word, and looked much pleased. I saw an anxious 
look on my girl's face and caught a glance that passed be- 
tween them. By and by they both went up-stairs, and in 
a few minutes I followed, and listened at the door of their 

"Amy was reading her letter to Grace. I could tell that 
by the hum of her voice, but I could not catch a word, 
until Grace exclaimed, sharply, ' What ! the 17th?' 'Yes, 
the 17th, hush,' Amy answered, and then went on with 
her reading. I cpuld not catch a single word more, so I 
went back down-stairs. It was then about the ninth of the 
month, and I thought it might be as well to keep my eyes 
open on the 17th, though it might have meant last month, 


or any other month, for all I could guess. After that Amy 
seemed in better spirits than usual, and Grace was gay and 
nervous by turns. On tlie 17th the girls stayed in their 
room, as usual that was four days ago." 

She paused a moment, during which my eyes never left 
her face; she sighed heavily, and resumed: 

"I felt fidgety all day, as if something was going to 
happen. I expected to see the girls preparing for com- 
pany, or to go somewhere, but they did no such thing. 
When evening came, they went to their room earlier than 
usual, but I sat up later than ,1 often do. It was almost 
eleven o'clock when I went up-stairs, and then I could not 
sleep. I stopped and listened again at the door of the 
girls' room, but could hear nothing. They might both 
have been asleep." 

" It was very warm, and I threw open my shutters, and 
sat dow r n by the window, thinking that I was not sleepy, 
and, of course, I fell asleep. All at once something awoke 
me. I started and listened ; in a moment I heard it again ; 
it was the snort of a horse. There was no moon, and the 
shrubbery and trees made the front yard, from the gate to 
the house, very dark. As I heard no wheels nor hoofs, 
of course I knew that the horse was standing still, and the 
sound came from the front. I sat quite still and listened 
hard. By and by I heard something else. This time it 
was a faint rustling among the bushes below it was not 
enough to have aroused even a light sleeper, but I was wide 


awake, and all ears. 'Somebody is creeping through my 
rose bushes/ I said to myself, then tip-toed to my bureau 
got out the pistol you gave me, and slipped out, and down- 
stairs, as still as a mouse. 

"The girls slept in a room over the parlor, and their 
windows faced west and south ; mine faced north and west, 
so you see I had no view, from my bed-room, of the south 
windows of their room. The croquet ground was on the 
south side of the house, and there was a bit of vacant lawn 
in front of the parlor, also. The windows below were all 
closed and so I could not hear the rustling any more. 

"I sat down by one of the parlor windows and peeped out. 
Presently I saw something come out from among the 
bushes ; it was a man ; and he came into the open space 
carrying a ladder. Then I knew what the rustling meant. 
He had taken the ladder from the big harvest-apple tree 
in front, where the girls had put it that afternoon, and was 
bringing it toward the house. 

" The man stopped opposite the south windows of the 
girls' room, and began to raise the ladder. Then I knew 
what to do. I slipped the pistol into my pocket, went out 
through the dining-room, unbolted the back door as 
quietly as I could, crept softly to the south corner of the 
house, and peeped around. The ladder was already up, 
and somebody was climbing out of the window, while the 
man steadied the ladder. It was one of the girls, but I 
could not tell which, so I waited. When she stood upon 


the ground not ten feet away from me, I knew by her 
height that it was Grace, and Amy had started down be- 
fore Grace was off the ladder. Just then the man stepped 
back, so that I had a fair chance at him. I took aim as 
well as I could, and fired. 

" The man yelled. Grace screamed and tumbled over 
on the grass, just as I expected her to. Amy Holmes 
jumped from the ladder, ran to the man, and said, "quick ! 
come !" I fired again, and Grace raised herself suddenly 
with such a moan that I thought in my haste I had hit her. 

"I threw down the pistol, ran and picked her up as if 
she were a baby, and took her around to the back door. 
By the time I found out that she was not hurt, and had 
got back to the ladder, the man and Amy were gone, and 
I heard a buggy going down the road at a furious rate." 

She paused and sighed deeply, looked at me for a moment, 
and then, as I made no effort to break the silence, she re- 
sumed : 

" It's not a pleasant ftory for a mother to tell concerning 
her own daughter, but when I think of Nellie Ewing I 
know that it might accidentally have been worse. 

"I commanded Grace to tell me the whole truth. She 
cried, and declared that she was under oath not to tell. 
After a little she grew calmer, and then told me that she 
meant 110 harm. Amy had a lover who was not a favorite 
with her guardian, who lives somewhere South. Amy was 

about to run away and be married, and Grace was to ac- 



company her as a witness. They both expected to be safely 
back before daylight. Of course I did not believe this, and 
I told her so. Her actions after that made me wish that I 
had not disputed her story. I have used every argument, 
and I am convinced thai nothing more can be got out of 
Grace. She is terribly frightened and nervous, but she is 
stubborn as death. Whatever the truth is, she is afraid to 
tell it." 

"And Miss Holmes; what more of her?" 

"Nothing more; she went away in the buggy with the 

"The others?" 

"Yes; I am sure there were two, for I found the place 
where the buggy stood waiting. It was not at the gate, 
but further south. There was a ditch between the wheel 
marks and the fence, and nothing to tie to. Some one must 
have been holding the horses." 

"And this is all you know about the business?" 

" Yes, everything." 

""Where is your daughter now?" 

"At home, under lock and key, with a trusty hired man 
to stand guard over her and the house until I get back, and 
Avith Freddy and the hired girl for company." 

"Does she know why you came to the city?" 

"Not she. I told her I was coming to make arrange- 
ments for putting her to school at a convent, and I intend 
to do it, too." 

"Just then the man stepped back, so that I had a fair chance at 
him. I took aim as well as I could, and fired." page 177. 



Making no comment on this bit of maternal discipline, I 
again had recourse to my note-book. 

"You are fixed in your desire not to have your daughter 
further interviewed?" I asked, presently. 

"I am/' she replied. "I don't think it would do any 
good, and she is not fit to endure any more excitement. I 
expect to find her sick in bed when I get home." 

" Do you think your shot injured the man?" 

"I know it did," emphatically. "I aimed at his legs, 
intending to hit them, and I did it. He never gave such 
a screech as that from sheer fright ; there was pain in it. 
Amy must have helped him to the carriage." 

"Is this escapade known among your neighbors?" 

"No. I hushed it up .at home, giving my girl and hired 
man a different story to believe. I could not get away by 
the morning train from Sharon, and so started the next 
evening. I left them all at home with Grace, and 
drove alone to Sharon, leaving my horse at the stable 

" You certainly acted very wisely, although I regret the 
delay. Miss Holmes and her two cavaliers have now nearly 
four days the start of us. Did you notice the size of the 
man at the ladder?" 

" Yes ; he was not a large man, if anything a trifle be- 
low the medium height." 

" You think, then, that Miss Holmes made a willful effort 
to deceive you, when she told you that the album verse was 


written by Professor JBartlett ? By-the-by, is there a Pro- 
fessor Asa Bartlett at Amora ?" 

" Yes, he is the Principal. If you could see him, you 
would never accuse him of having written a silly verse 
like that. I am sure Amy meant to deceive me, and I am 
sure that she posted Grace about it, in case I should ask 

" But you did not ask her ?" 

" No. One does not care to make one's own child tell 
an unnecessary lie. Grace would have stood by Amy, no 

It was growing late in the afternoon. There was much 
to do, much to think over, and no time to lose. I was not 
yet prepared to give Mrs. Ballou the benefit of my opinion, 
as regarded her daughter's escapade, so I arranged for a 
meeting in the evening, promising to have my plans de- 
cided upon and ready to lay before her at that time. 

She wished, if possible, to return home on the following 
day, and I told her that I thought it not only possible, but 
advisable that she should do so. 

Then I called a carriage, saw her safely ensconced therein, 
en route for her hotel, and returned to my Chief. 

I had now two interests. I much desired to arrive at 
the bottom of the Groveland mystery, and thought, with 
the information now in hand, that this was quite possible; 
and I also desired to remain at my post among the Traf- 
tonites. I at once decided upon my course. I would tell 


my Chief Mrs. Ballou's story, and then I would give him 
a brief history of our sojourn in Trafton and its motive. 
After that, we would decide how to act. 

There was no pause for rest or food, or thought, until I 
had given my Chief a history of Mrs. Ballou's vigil and 
excellent pistol exploit, and followed this up by the story 
of my Trafton experience. 

His first comment, after he had listened for an hour 
most attentively, brought from my lips a sigh of relief; it 
was just what I longed to hear. 

" Well, you need have no fear so far as this office is con- 
cerned. 'Squire Brookhouse has not called for its services. 





"Bathurst," my Chief said, settling back in his chair, 
and eyeing me with great good humor, " I don't see but that 
you are getting on swimmingly, and I don't feel inclined 
to dictate much. Your Groveland affair is looking up. 
You may have as many men as you need to look after that 
business. As for Trafton, I think you and Games have 
made good use of your holiday. I think you have struck 
something rich, and that you had better remain there, and 
work it up ; or, if you prefer to go to Groveland yourself, 
return there as soon as possible." 

" I am glad to hear you talk as I think," I replied. "I 
believe that Trafton is ripe for an explosion, and I confess 
that, just at present, I am more interested in Trafton 

than in Groveland, besides . In my report from 

Groveland, you may remember that I mentioned going 
to the station to fetch Miss Amy Holmes ?" 


"And that this young lady was accompanied on that 
day by a handspme young gentleman?" 



" "Well, I have since made the acquah lance of this 
young man." 

"Ah !" 

"At first I thought it only a coincidence^ and dismissed 
the matter from my mind. Since I have heard Mrs. 
Ballou's story, a queer thought'has entered my head." 


"This young gallant, whom I first saw in the company 
of the runaway Miss Holmes, is Mr. Arch, or Archibald 
Brookhouse, of Trafton." 

" I see," thoughtfully. 

" And the initials following that album verse are A. B." 

"A. B. ! Archibald Brookhouse ! There may'loe some- 
thing in it, but should you feel justified in suspecting this 
young man as the possible author of your anonymous 

" If he is the writer of the album lines, yes." 

" What do you propose to do ?" 

" First," said I, " we must call in the dummy." 


" Then I want a good man to go to Groveland in search 
of information. I want him to find out all that he can 
concerning the character of this Johnny La Porte, who 
attended school at Amora, and was a fellow-student with 
Nellie Ewing, Mamie Rutger, and Grace Ballou." 


" Then he must learn if any of the Groveland youths 


have become lame since last Sunday, and if any of these 
same gentry was missing, or absent from home, during the 
night of the 17th, for, of course, Miss Amy Holmes being 
on his hands, the driver of the carriage which Mrs. Ballon 
routed that night must have been absent sometime, //he be- 
longed in the community. ^ He surely had to dispose of 
Miss Holmes in some way." 

"Do you think it probable that some Groveland Lothario 
was mixed up in this elopement business?" 

"I think it not improbable. The first search was made, 
seemingly, upon the supposition that all Groveland was 
above suspicion, and that search failed. I intend to hold 
all Groveland Lotharios upon my list of suspected crimi- 
nals until they are individually and collectively proven 

" Quite right." 

"On second thought we had better let the dummy re- 
main until we have put a new man in the field ; by this 
time he must know something about the people he is among. 
AVho can you send to Groveland ?" 

"Wyman, I think." 

"Capital; Wyman is good at this sort of thing. He 
had better present himself in person to our dummy, hear 
all that he can tell, and then deliver your letter of recall, 
and see him safely on his way to the city before he has 
time to open his mouth for the benefit of any one else." 

"Very good; Wyman is at your disposal." 


I drew toward mo a large portfolio containing State and 
county maps. It lay at all times upon the office table, con- 
venient for reference. 

While I was tracing the eccentric course of a certain rail- 
road, I could feel my Chief's eyes searching my counten- 

" Bathurst," he said, after some moments of silence, and 
loaning toward mo as ho spoke, "I believe you have a 
theory, or a suspicion, that is not entirely based upon Mrs. 
Ballou's revelation." 

"You are right," I replied, "and it is a -suspicion of so 
strange a sort that I almost hesitate to give it utterance, 
and yet I think it worthy of attention. I want to shadow 
this cavalier, Arch Brookhouse." 


"I find by this map that the town of Amora is situated 
twenty-five miles from Groveland, and thirty miles from 
Trafton. Sharon, the nearest railroad communication with 
Groveland, is thirty miles from Amora, so that the distance 
from Trafton to Sharon is sixty miles, and the seminary 
town is midway between." 

My Chief made a sign which meant " I comprehend ; 
go on." 

"Now, it is possible that accident or business brought 
Mr. Arch Brookhouse to Sharon, and that his meeting with 
Miss Holmes was quite accidental, and his attendance upon 
Miss Holmes and Grace Ballon merely a chance bit of 


gallantry. But when you consider that he seemed equally 
well known to both young ladies, that Sharon is a small 
town, and a dull one, and that Miss Holmes came from 
Amora that morning, is it not just as probable that Mr. 
Brookhouse traveled from Trafton to Amora for the pur- 
pose of escorting Miss Holmes to Sharon ? Now, young 
men of our day are not much given to acts of courtesy ex- 
tending over sixty miles of railroad; therefore, if Arch 
Brookhouse visited Sharon for the sole purpose of meeting 
these two young ladies, and basking in their society for a 
brief half hour, it is fair to presume that he is more than 
ordinarily interested in one of them." 

"You are right, Bathurst ; at least it would seem so." 

"Now let me tell you all that I know concerning the 

Once more I gave a minute description of my first meet- 
ing with Arch Brookhouse, and of the second, when I 
recognized him at Trafton. Then I told him of my inter- 
view with the telegraph operator, of the telegram sent by 
Fred Brookhouse from New Orleans, and of the reply sent 
by Arch, and last I told him how Louis Brookhouse had 
come home, accompanied by another young man, on the day 
after the attempted flight of Grace Ballon, and how Dr. 
Bethel had been called upon to attend him, he having met 
with an accident. 

My Chief stroked his chin thoughtfully. 

" I see," he said, slowly, " you have some nice points 


of circumstantial evidence against these young gentlemen. 
How do you propose to use them ?" 

" First, I must know what motive took Arch Brook- 
house to Sharon, and find out if either of the Brookhouse 
brothers have been students at Amora. I want therefore 
to send a second man to Amora." 

" Very good." 

" If I find that either, or both, of the younger brothers 
have been fellow-students with Grace Ballou, and the 
missing girls, then I shall wish to extend my search." 

"To New Orleans?" 

" To New Orleans." 

" Is there anything more ?" 

" Yes ; one thing. If Carnes goes to New Orleans I shall 
want a telegraph operator in Trafton." 

" Then you wish to remain in Trafton ?" 

" Yes, and this takes me back to the other matter. I 
quite expected that a man like 'Squire Brookhouse would 
have called upon you for help. If he has employed men 
from either of the other offices, we can easily find out who 
they are." 


"I shall wish to inform myself on this point, and if 
possible, return to Trafton to-morrow night. I am to see 
Mrs. Ballou again to-night ; now I think I will have some 

I arose, but stood, for a moment, waiting for any word 


of command or suggestion my Chief might have to 

He sat for many seconds, seemingly oblivious of my 
presence. Then he looked up. 

" I shall make no suggestions/' he said, waving his hand 
as if to dismiss both the subject and myself. " I will in- 
struct Wyman and Earle at once. When you come in after 
seeing Mrs. Ballon, you will find them at your disposal, 
and give yourself no trouble about those other detectives. 
I will attend to that." 

I thanked him and withdrew. This curt sentence from 
the lips of my Chief was worth more to me than volumes 
of praise from any other source, for it convinced me that 
he not only trusted me, but that he approved my course 
and could see none better. 

I saw Mrs. Ballou again that evening, and put to her 
some questions that not only amazed her, but seemed to 
her most irrelevant, but while she answered without fully 
comprehending my meaning or purpose, some of her re- 
plies were, to me, most satisfactory. 

After I had heard all that she could tell me concerning 
Mr. Johnny La Porte, I gave her a minute description of 
Arch Brookhouse, and ended by asking if she had ever 
seen any one who answered to that description. 

I was puzzled, but scarcely surprised, at her answer, 
which came slowly and after considerable reflection. 

Yes, she had seen such a young man ; I had described 


him exactly. She had seen him twice. He came to her 
house in company with Ed. Dwight. Dwight was an agent 
for various sewing machines; he was a jolly, good-natured 
follow, very much liked by all the young Grovelanders; he 
had traveled the Grovcland route for two years, perhaps 
three. He was quite at home at Mrs. Ballou's,and, in fact, 
anywhere where he had made one or two visits. The young 
man I had described had been over the Groveland route 
twice with Ed. Dwight, each time stopping for dinner 
at Mrs. Ballou's. His name, she believed, was Brooks, 
and he had talked of setting up as an agent on his own 

Did she know Mr. Dwight's place of residence ? 

He lived on the C. & L. road, somewhere between 
Sharon and Amora. Mrs. Ballon could not recall the name 
of the town. 

I did not need that she should; a sewing machine 
agent whose name I knew, and who lived somewhere 

c) ' 

between Amora and Sharon, would not be difficult to 

" How did Mr. Dwight travel ?" 

" In a very nice covered wagon, and with a splendid 

"How long since Mr. Brooks and Mr. Dwight paid a 
visit to Groveland ?" 

Mrs. Ballou thought it was fully six months since their 
last visit. 


" That would be nearly two months before Mamie Eutger 
and Nellie Ewing disappeared ?" 


" Have you seen Dwight since ?" 

"Oh, yes; he comes at stated times, as usual." 

It was growing late, and I was more than satisfied with 
my interview with Mrs. Ballou. I advised her to keep 
Grace for the present under her own eye and, promising 
that she should see or hear from me soon, took my 

Mrs. Ballou had announced her intention to return by 
the morning train. 

We could not be traveling companions, as I was not to 
leave the city until afternoon. 

Beaching my room I sat into the small hours looking 
over my notes, jotting down new ones, smoking and 

The next morning I saw Wyman and Earle, gave 
them full instructions, and arranged to receive their re- 
ports at the earliest possible moment, by express, at 

At noon I was in possession of all that could be learned 
concerning the identity of the detectives employed by 
'Squire Brookhouse. No officer of any of the regular 
forces had been employed. Mr. Brookhouse had probably 
obtained the services of private detectives. 

Private detectives, of more or less ability, are numerous 


in the city, and I was person ally known to but few of these 
independent experts. Most of those could be satisfactorily 
accounted for ; and I turned my face toward Trafton, feel- 
ing that there was little danger of being " spotted" by a 
too knowing brother officer. 

13 *9 




My train, which left the city early in the afternoon, 
would arrive in Trafton at midnight. Foreseeing a long 
and, in my then state of mind, tedious ride, I had armed 
myself with a well-filled cigar case, and several copies of 
the latest editions of the city papers, and we had not been 
long on the wing before I turned my steps toward the 
smoking car, biting off the end of a weed as I went. 

A group of four, evidently countrymen, were just be- 
ginning a game of cards. I took a seat opposite them and 
idly watched their progress, while I enjoyed my cigar. 

Presently a gentleman from the front, seemingly attracted 
by their hilarity, arose and sauntered down the aisle, taking 
up his station behind the players, and quietly overlooking 
the game. 

He did not glance at me, as he passed, but, from my 
lounging position, I could watch his face and study it at my 
leisure. At the first glance it struck me as being familiar; 
I had seen the man before, but where? Slowly, as I looked, 
the familiarity resolved itself into identity, and then 1 
watched him with growing interest, and some wonder. 


Seven months ago, while working upon a criminal case I 
had made the acquaintance of this gentleman at a thieves' 
tavern, down in the slums. I was, of course, safely dis- 
guised at the time, and in an assumed character ; hence I 
had no fear of being recognized now. 

" Dimber* Joe" had been doing Government service, in 
consequence of his connection with a garroting escapade, 
and had but just been released from "durance vile." His 
hair was then somewhat shorter than was becoming ; his 
face was unshaven, and his general appearance that of a 
seedy, hard-up rascal. The person before me wore his hair 
a little longer than the ordinary cut ; his face was clean 
shaven, his linen immaculate, and his dress a well-made 
business suit, such as a merchant or banker abroad might 
wear. But it was Dimber Joe. 

Evidently fortune had dropped a few, at least, of her 
favors at Dimber Joe's feet, but it was quite safe to con- 
jecture that some one was so much the worse off for his 
present prosperity. 

What new mischief was on foot? for it was hardly likely 
that Dimber Joe, late the associate of river thieves, was 
now undertaking an honest journey. 

I resolved to watch him closely while our way was the 
same, and to give my Chief an account of our meeting, to- 
gether with a description of Joe's "get up," at the first op- 

* Handsome. 


Accordingly, I remained in the smoking car during the 
entire journey, but no suspicious or peculiar movement, on 
the part of Dimber Joe, rewarded my vigilance, until the 
brakeman called Trafton, aud we pulled into that station. 

Then Dimber Joe arose, stretched himself, flung a linen 
duster across his arm, and, swinging in his hand a small 
valise, quitted the car, stepped down upon the shadowy 
platform just ahead of me ; and, while I was looking about 
for Games, vanished in the darkness. 

"Well, Games," I said, when we were once more alone 
in our room at the hotel, "what has happened? Have 
you seen anything that looks like a detective?" 

" Niver a wan," he replied. " I've kept an open eye on 
every train from both ways, but the only arrival in this 
city, worth making mintion of, has been who d'ye 
think ?" 

" Myself, I suppose." 

" No, sir ! Not a bit of it. It's a cove that means no 
good to Trafton, you may depend. It's Blake Simpson, 
and he's rooming in this very house." 

"Blake Simpson ! are you sure f 

" Av coorse I'm sure ! Did ye ever know me to miss a 
face ? I never saw the fellow before h ; came here, but I've 
made the acquaintance of his phiz in the rogue's gallery. 
He came yesterday ; he wears good togs, and is playing the 
gentleman ; you know he is not half a bad looking fellow, 
and his manner is above suspicion. He is figuring as a 

"Then Dimber Joe arose, stretched himself, flung a linen duster 
across his arm, and, swinging in his hand a small valise, quitted the 
car." page 196. 


patent-right man, but he'll figure as something else before 
we see the last of him in Trafton, depend upon it." 

Blake Simpson was known, at least by name, to every 
man on the force. He was a mixture of burglar, street 
robber, and panel- worker ; and was a most dangerous 

" Games," I said, slowly, " I am afraid some new mis- 
fortune menaces Trafton, if, as you say, Blake Simpson is 
is already here, for Dimber Joe came down on the train 
to-night, and is in Trafton." 

Carnes uttered a long, low whistle. 

" Blake and Dimber Joe !" he said. "A fine pair, 
sure enough ; and in what shape does the Dimber come?" 

" He comes well-dressed, and looking like a respectable 
member of society." 

" Well," with a prodigious yawn, " we got here first, and 
we will try and sleep with one eye open while they stay in 
Trafton. What did you learn about the Brookhouse in- 
vestigation, Bathurst?" 

I told him the result of our search among the city detec- 
tives, and finished by saying : 

" Probably the new debutants will be strangers, and will 
not interfere with our movements. I wish I knew whether 
Bethel will eventually decide to employ a detective. I 
don't think he is the man to let such a matter drop." 

"He won't take it up for the present, I fancy. Dr. 
Barnard is dangerously ill ; was taken yesterday, very sud- 


denly. They depend entirely upon Bethel ; he is in con- 
stant attendance. I heard Porter say that the old gentle- 
man's case was a desperate one, and that a change for the 
worse might be expected at any moment." 

I was sorry to hear such news of the jovial old doctor. 
His was a life worth something to the community ; but I 
was not sorry to learn that an immediate interview with 
Dr. Bethel could be staved off, without exciting wonder or 
suspicion in his mind ; for, since my visit to the city, I had 
reconsidered my intention to confide in the doctor, and re- 
solved to keep my own counsel, at least for the present. 

Previous to my visit to the city, we had decided that it 
was time to explore the south road, and also that it was de- 
sirable to " get the measure" of Jim Long at the earliest 

We settled upon the best method by which to accomplish 
the former, and undertake the latter, object. And then 
Carnes, who had been very alert and active during my 
absence, and who was now very sleepy, flung himself upon 
his bed to pass the few hours that remained of darkness in 

I had not yet opened up to him the subject of the Grove- 
land operations, thinking it as well to defer the telling 
until I had received reports from Wyman and Earle. 

We had now upon our hands a superabundance of raw 
material from which to work out some star cases. But, 
just now, the Groveland affair seemed crowding itself to 


the front, while the Trafton scourges, and the villainous 
grave-robbers, seemed to grow more and more mysterious, 
intangible, and past finding out. 

The presence of Blake Simpson and Dimber Joe gave 
me some uneasiness ; but, guessing that their stay in Traf- 
ton would bo short, I resolved not to bring myself into 
prominence by notifying the authorities of the presence of 
two such dangerous characters, but rather to trust them to 
Games' watchfulness while I passed a day, or more if 
need be, in exploring the south road. 

As I settled my head upon my pillow after a long med- 
itation, I remembered that to-morrow would be Sunday, 
and that Tuesday was the day fixed for Miss Manvers' 
garden party. 




Early on the following morning I visited Trafton's best 
livery stable, and procuring a good team and light buggy, 
drove straight to Jim Long's cabin, intending to solicit his 
companionship on my ride. But the cabin was deserted ; 
there was no sign of Jim about the premises; and, after 
waiting impatiently for a few moments, and uttering one 
or two resounding halloos, I resumed my journey alone. 

I had manufactured a pretext for this journey, which 
was to be confided to Jim by way of setting at rest any 
wonder or doubt that my maneuvers might otherwise give 
rise to, and I had intended to seize this opportunity for 
sounding him, in order the better to judge whether it would 
be prudent to take him into our confidence, in a less or 
greater degree, as the occasion might warrant. 

Such an ally as Jim would be invaluable, I knew; but, 
spite of the fact that we had been much in his society, and 
that we both considered ourselves, and were considered by 
others, very good judges of human nature, neither Carnes 
nor myself could say truly that we understood Jim Long. 

His words were a mass of absurd contradictions, be- 


traying no trait of his undividuality, save his eccentricity; 
and his face was, at all times, as unreadable as the sphinx. 
When you turned from his contradictory words to read his 
meaning in his looks, you felt as if turning from the gam- 
bols of Puck to peer into a vacuum. 

Regretting the loss of Jim's society, as well as the op- 
portunity it might possibly have afforded, I urged my 
horses swiftly over the smooth sun-baked road, noting 
the aspect of the country as we flew on. 

Straight and level it stretched before me, with field, 
orchard, and meadow on either hand ; a cultivated prairie. 
There were well-grown orchards, and small artificial groves, 
rows of tall poplars, clumps of low-growing trees, planted 
as wind breaks, hedges high and branching, IOAV and closely 
trimmed. But no natural timber, no belts of grove, no 
thick undergrowth; nothing that might afford shelter for 
skulking outlaws, or stolen quadrupeds. 

The houses were plentiful, and not far apart. There were 
the pretentious new dwellings of the well-to-do farmers, 
and the humbler abodes of the unsuccessful land tiller, and 
the renter. There were stacks, and barns, and granaries, 
all honest in their fresh paint or their weather-beaten 
dilapidation; no haven for thieves or booty here. 

So for ten miles ; then there was a stretch of rolling 
prairie, but still no timber, and as thickly settled as before. 

Fifteen miles from Trafton I crossed a high bridge that 
spanned a creek almost broad enough and deep enough 


to be called a river. On either side was a fringe of hazel 
brush and a narrow strip of timber, so much thinned by 
the wood cutter that great gaps were visible among the 
trees, up and down, as far as the eye could see. 

I watered my horses here, and drawing forth a powerful 
field glass, which I had made occasional use of along the 
route, surveyed the country. Nothing near or remote 
seemed worthy of investigation. 

Driving beneath some friendly green branches, I allowed 
my horses to rest, and graze upon the tender foliage, while 
I consulted a little pocket map of the country. 

I had been driving directly south, and the C. & L. rail- 
road ran from Trafton a little to the southwest. At a dis- 
tance of eighteen miles from that town the railroad curved to 
the south and ran parallel w r ith the highway I was now travel- 
ing, but at a distance of eight miles. Ten miles further 
south and I would come upon the little inland village of 
Clyde, and running due west from Clyde was a wagon road 
straight to the railroad town of Amora. 

I had started early and driven fast ; consulting my watch 
I found that it was only half-past ten. 

I had intended to push my investigation at least twenty- 
five miles south, and although I was already convinced 
that no midnight raiders would be likely to choose as an 
avenue of escape a highway so thickly dotted with houses, 
many of them inconveniently near the road, and so in- 
sufficient in the matter of hills and valleys, forest and 


sheltering underbrush. I decided to go on to Clyde, hop- 
ing, if I failed in one direction, to increase my knowledge 
in another. 

I put away map and field glass, lit a fresh cigar, turned 
my horses once more into the high road and pursued my 

It was a repetition of the first ten miles ; broad fields and 
rich meadows, browsing cattle and honest-eyed sheep ; 
thickly scattered farm buildings, all upright and honest of 
aspect ; the whole broad face of the country seemed laugh- 
ing my investigations to scorn. 

When I found myself within sight of Clyde I stopped 
my team, having first assured myself that no spectator was 
in sight and selected from the roadside a small, round peb- 
ble. Looking warily about me a second time, I inserted 
it between the hoof and shoe of the most docile of the two 

It was an action that would have brought me into dis- 
favor with the great Bergh, but in the little game I was 
about to play, the assistance which a lame horse could ren- 
der seemed necessary. 

I promised the martyr a splendid rub down and an 
extra feed as a compensation, and we moved on slowly 
toward our destination, the near horse limping painfully, 
and his comrade evidently much amazed, and not a little 
disgusted, at this sudden change of gait. 

The little village of Clyde was taking its noontide nap 


when I drove clown its principal street, and I felt like a 
wolf in Arcadia ; all was so peaceful, so clean, so prim and 
so silent. 

A solitary man emerging from a side street roused me 
to action. I drove forward and checked my horses directly 
before him. 

Could I find a livery stable in the town ? And was 
there such a thing as a hotel ? 

Yes, there was a sort of a stable, at least anybody could 
get a feed at Larkins' barn, and he kept two or three 
horses for hire. As for a hotel, there it was straight ahead 
of me ; that biggish house with the new blinds on it. 

Being directed to Larkins', I thanked my informant, 
and was soon making my wants known to Larkins him- 

Thinking it quite probable that the hired team which I 
drove might be known to some denizen of Clyde, I at once 
announced myself as from Trafton ; adding, that I had 
driven out toward Clyde on business, and, being told that 
I could reach Baysville by a short cut through or near 
Clyde, I had driven on, but one of my horses having sud- 
denly become lame, I had decided to rest at Clyde, and 
then return to Trafton. I had been told that Baysville 
was not more than seven miles from Clyde. 

It is scarcely necessary to state that I had really no in- 
tention of visiting Baysville, and that my map had in- 
formed me as to its precise location. 


The truth was that I had dropped for the moment the 
Trafton case, and had visited Clyde in the interest of 
Groveland, thinking it not unlikely that this little hamlet, 
beino- so near Amora, might be within the area traversed 
by Mr. Ed. Dwight, the sewing machine agent. 

He was said to live somewhere between Amora and 
Sharon, perhaps here I could learn the precise location of 
his abiding place. 

Leaving my tired horses to the care of Larkins, I next 
bent my steps towards the commodious dwelling which did 
duty as hotel. There was no office, but the sitting-room, 
with its homely rag carpet, gaudy lithographs, old fashioned 
rocker, and straight-backed " cane seats," was clean and 
cool. There was a small, organ in one corner, a sewing 
machine in another, and an old fashioned bureau in a 

A little girl, of fourteen years or less, entered the room 
timidly, followed by two younger children. She took from 
the bureau a folded cloth, snowy and smooth, and left the 
room quietly, but the younger ones, less timid, and perhaps 
more curious, remained. 

Perching themselves uncomfortably upon the extreme 
edges of two chairs, near together but remote from me, 
they blinked and stared perse veringly, until I broke the 
silence and set them at their ease by commencing a lively 

The organ was first discussed, then the sewing machine 


furnished a fresh topic. After a time my dinner was 
served: but, during the half-hour of waiting, while my 
hostess concocted yellow soda biscuit, and fried monstrous 
slices of ham, I had gathered, from my seemingly careless 
chatter with the children, some valuable information. 
While I ate my dinner, I had leisure to consider what I 
had heard. 

My hostess had not purchased her sewing machine of 
Ed. D wight, but he had been there to repair it; besides, he 
always stopped there when making his regular journeys 
through Clyde. They all liked D wight, the children had 
declared ; he could play the organ, and he sang such funny 
songs. He could dance, too, "like anything." He lived 
at Amora, but he had told their mother, when he had paid 
his last visit, that he intended to sell out his route soon, 
and go away. He was going into another business. 

If Mr. Dwight lived at Amora, then Mrs. Ballon had 
misunderstood or been misinformed. She was the reverse 
of stupid, and not likely to err in understanding. If she 
had been misinformed, had it not been for some purpose ? 

The machine agent had talked of abandoning his present 
business, and leaving the country shortly. 

If this was true, then it would be well to know where 
he was going, and what his new occupation was to be. 

Before I had finished doing justice to my country din- 
ner, I had decided how to act. 

Returning to Larkins' stable I found that he had dis-* 


covered the cause of my horse's lameness, and listened to 
his rather patronizing discourse upon the subject of "halts 
and sprains," with due meekness, as well as a profound 
consciousness that he had mentally set me down as a city 
blockhead, shockingly ignorant of "horse lore," and wholly 
unfit to draw the ribbons over a decent beast. 

He had been assisted to this conclusion by a neighboring 
Clydeite, who, much to my annoyance, had sauntered in, 
and, recognizing not only the team, but myself, had volun- 
teered the information that : 

"Them was Dykeman's bays/' and that I was "a rich 
city fellow that was stayin' at Trafton;" he had "seen me 
at the hotel the last time he hauled over market stuff." 

Having ascertained my position in the mind of Mr. 
Larkins, I consulted him as to the propriety of driving the 
bays over to Amora and back that afternoon. 

Larkins eyed me inquisitively. 

"I 'spose then you'll want to get back to Trafton to- 
night?" he queried. 

Yes, I wanted to get back as soon as possible, but if ' 
Larkins thought it imprudent to drive so far with the team, 
I would take fresh horses, if he had them to place at my 
disposal. And then, having learned from experience that 
ungratified curiosity, especially the curiosity of the country 
bum; kin with a taste for gossip, is often the detective's 
worst enemy, I explained that I had learned that the dis- 
tance to Baysville was greater than I had supposed, and I 


210 OUT OF A 

hud decided to drive over to Amora to make a call upon 
an acquaintance who was in business there. 

Mr. Larkins manifested a desire to know the name of 
my Amora acquaintance, and was promptly enlightened. 

I wanted to call on Mr. Ed. Dwight, of sewing machine 

And now I was the helpless victim in the hands of the 
ruthless and inquisitive Larkins. 

He knew Ed. Dwight "like a book." Ed. always " put 
up" with him, and he was a " right good fellow, any way 
you could fix it." In short, Larkins was ready and will- 
ing to act as my pilot to Amora ; he had "got a fly in' span 
of roans," and would drive me over to Amora in "less 
than no time"; he "didn't mind seeing Ed. himself," etc., 

There was no help for it. Larkins evidently did not 
intend to trust his roans to my unskilled hands, so I ac- 
cepted the situation, and was soon bowling over the road 
to Amora, tetc-d-tete with the veriest interrogation point in 
human guise that it was ever my lot to meet. 

Larkins did not converse ; he simply asked questions. 
His interest in myself, my social and financial standing, my 
occupation, my business or pleasure in Trafton, my past 
and my future, "was something surprising considering the 
length, or more properly the brevity of our acquaintance. 

Even my (supposed) relatives, near and remote, came in 
for a share of his generous consideration. 


To have given unsatisfactory answers would have been 
to provoke outside investigation. 

A detective's first care should be to clear up all doubt or 
uncertainty concerning himself. Let an inquisitive person 
think that he knows. a little more of your private history 
than do his neighbors, and you disarm him; he has. now 
no incentive to inquiry. He may ventilate his knowledge 
very freely, but by so doing he simply plays into your 

If the scraps of family history, which I dealt out to 
Larkins during that drive, astonished and edified that 
worthy, they would have astonished and edified my most 
intimate friend none the less. 

By the time we had reached our destination, I was burst- 
ing with merriment, and he, with newly acquired knowl- 

I had made no attempt to extract information concern- 
ing Ed. Dwight, on the route. I hoped soon to interview 
that gentleman in propricepersonce, and any knowledge not 
to be gained from the interview 1 could " sound" lor on 
the return drive. 




On arriving within sight of Amora, I had reason to 
congratulate myself that I had brought Larkins along as 

Amora was by no means a city, but it was large enough 
to make a search after Mr. Dwight a proceeding possibly 
lengthy, and perhaps difficult. 

Larkins knew all about it. We drove past the Semi- 
nary, quite a large and imposing structure, surrounded by 
neat and tastefully laid out grounds, through a cheery- 
looking business street, and across a bridge, over a hill, and 
thence down a street which, while it was clean, well built, 
and thrifty of aspect, was evidently not the abode of Amora's 
la beau monde. 

In another moment Larkins was pulling in his reins be- 
fore a large, unpainted dwelling, in front of which stood a 
pole embellished with the legend, "Boarding House." 

Several inquiring faces could be seen through the open 
windows, and the squeak of an untuneful violin smote our 
ears, as we approached the door. 

Larkins, who seemed very much at home, threw open 


the street door ; we turned to the right, and were almost 
instantly standing in a large, shabbily-furnished parlor. 

Two of the aforementioned faces, carried on the shoulders 
of two blowzy-looking young women, were vanishing 
through a rear door, through which the tones of the violin 
sounded louder and shriller than before. Three occupants 
still remained in the room, and to one of these, evidently 
the " landlady," Larkins addressed himself. 

" Good evening, Mrs. Cole. We want to see Ed. I hear 
his fiddle, so I s'pose he can l^e seen ?" 

Proffering us two hard, uninviting chairs, Mrs. Cole 
vanished, and, through the half-closed door, we could hear 
her voice, evidently announcing our presence, but the 
violin and "Lannigan's Ball" went on to the end. Like 
another musical genius known to fame, Mr. D wight evi- 
dently considered " music before all else." 

With the last note of the violin came the single syllable, 
"Eh?" in a voice not unpleasant, but unnecessarily 

Mrs. Cole repeated her former sentence ; there was the 
sound of some one rising, quick steps crossed the floor and, 
as the door swung inward to admit Mr. Dwight, I advanced 
quickly and with extended hand. 

When he halted before me, however, I stepped back in 
feigned surprise and confusion. 

But Dwight was equal to the occasion. Before I could 
drop or withdraw my hand, he seized it in his own large 


palm, and shook it heartily, the most jovial of smiles light- 
ing his face meanwhile. 

" You've got the advantage of me, just now," -he said, in 
the same loud, cheery tone we had heard from the kitchen, 
"but I'm glad to see you, all the same. Lark ins ! hallo, 
Larkins, how are you," and, dropping my hand as suddenly 
as he had grasped it, Dwight turned to salute Larkins. 

When their greeting was over, I stammered forth my ex- 

I had made a mistake. Mr. DeWhyte must pardon it 
Hearing at Clyde that a Mr. DeWhyte was living in Amora, 
and that he was engaged in the sale of sewing machines, 
I had supposed it to be none other than an old school friend 
of that name, who, when last I heard of him, was general 
agent for a city machime manufactory. It was a mistake 
which I trusted Mr. DeWhyte would pardon. I then pre- 
sented my card and retired within myself. 

But the genial Dwight was once more " happy to know 
me." Shifting his violin, which he had brought into the 
room, from underneath his left elbow, he rested it upon his 
knee, and launched into a series of questions concerning in y 
suppositions friend, which resulted in the discovery that 
their names, though similar, were not the same, and that 
the existence of a Mr. Edward DeWhyte and of Ed. 
Dwight, both following the same occupation, was not after 
all a very remarkable coincidence, although one liable to 
cause mistakes like the one just made by me. 

"When he halted before me, however, I stepped back in feigned 
surprise and confusion." page 213. 



After this we were more at our ease. I proffered my 
cigar case, and both Larkins and Dwight accepted weeds, 
Dwight remarking, as he arose to take some matches from 
a card-board match safe under the chimney, that, " smok- 
ing was permitted in the parlor," adding, as he struck a 
match on the sole of his boot, that he " believed in comfort, 
and would not board where they were too high-toned to 
allow smoking." 

Conversation now became general ; rather Larkins, 
Dwight, and the two hitherto silent " boarders" talked, and 
I listened, venturing only an occasional remark, and study- 
ing my " subject" with secret interest. 

" When are you comin' our way again, Dwight ?" asked 
Larkins, as, after an hour's chat, we rose to take our leave. 

" I don't know, Lark. ; I don't know," said Dwight, in- 
serting his hands in his pockets and jingling some loose 
coin or keys as he replied. " I don't think I'll make many 
more tj^)s." 

" Sho! Ye ain't goin' to take a new route, I hope?" 

" N-no ; I think I'll try a new deal. I've got a little 
down on the S. M. biz., and talk of taking up my old 

"What! the show business?" 

" Yes ; I've got a pretty good chance for salary, and 
guess I'll go down south and do a little of the heel and 
toe business this Winter," rattling his heels by way of 




This fragment of conversation was a mine which I worked 


faithfully during our Clydeward drive, manifesting an in- 
terest in Mr. Ed. Dwight which quite met wiOi the appro- 
val of Larkins, and which he was very ready to build up 
and gratify. 

I remained in Clyde that night, and before retiring to 
rest in the tiny room assigned me in the "hotel," I made 
the following entry in my note-book : 

Ed. Dwight, sewing machine agent, living at Amora, is 
taller than the medium, but slender, and of light weight, 
being narrow of chest, with slim and slightly bowed legs, 
and long arms that are continually in motion ; large, nervous 
hands; small head, with close-cropped curly black hair; 
fine regular features, that would be handsome but for the 
unhealthy, sallow complexion, and the look of dissipation 
about the eyes ; said eyes very black, restless and bold of 
expression; mouth sensual, and shaded by a small, black 
mustache; teeth, white and rather prominent. 

He is full of life and animation; an inveterate joker, his 
" chaff" being his principal conversational stock in trade. 
He is loud of speech, somewhat coarse in manner, rakish in 
dress, and possesses wonderful self-confidence. He is con- 
sidered a dangerous fellow among the country girls, and 
gets credit for making many conquests. Is fickle in his 
fancies, and, like the sailor, seems to have a sweetheart in 
every port. 


He is a singer of comic songs, a scraper upon the violin, 
and a sonic time song and dance man. 

Has sold sewing machines for nearly three years in 
Amora and vicinity, and is now preparing to return to the 
stage and to go South. 

Early the next morning I bade Larkins a friendly fare- 
well, and turned my face toward Trafton. 

Nothing noteworthy had occurred during my absence. 
Blake and Dimber Joe had observed Sunday in the most 
decorous fashion, attending divine worship, but not together, 
and remained in and about the hotel all the rest of the day 
and evening, treating each other as entire strangers, and, 
so far as Games could discover, never once exchanging word 
or glance. 

One thing Games had noted as peculiar : Jim Long had 
haunted the hotel all day, manifesting a lively interest in 
our city birds, watching them furtively, entering into con- 
versation with one or the other as opportunity offered, and 
contriving, while seeming to lounge as carelessly as usual, 
to keep within sight of them almost constantly during the 
day and evening. 

Dr. Barnard was still in a critical condition ; Games had 
not seen Bethel since Saturday. 

"And what elephant's tracks did ye's find till the south 
av us?" queried Games, after he had given me the forego- 
ing information. "Any 'nish' lairs, quiet fences, or cosy 
jungles, eh?" 


Whereupon I gave him a full description of the journey 
over the south road, reserving only the portion of my 
yesterday's experience that concerned, for the present, only 
Mr. Ed. Dvvight and myself. 

"So there's nothing to get out of that," said Carnes, after 
listening to my recital with a serious countenance. "What 
do you think now, old man ? If they don't run their 
booty over that road, where the mischief ( J o they take it?" 

"That we must find out," I replied. " And in order to 
do that we must investigate in a new direction." 


"Think a moment. We decided at the first that these 
systematic thieves had, must have, a rendezvous within half 
a night's ride from Trafton." 

" Yes ; an' I stick to that theory." 

" So do I. All these robberies have been committed at 
distances never more than twenty-five miles from Trafton; 
often less, but never more" 

"Just so." 

"Within a radius of twenty -five miles around Trafton, 
east, north, and west, and at all intermediate points, it has 
not been safe to own a good horse. There is but one break 
in this unsafe circle and that is to the south. Now, that 
south road, one day, or two days, after a robbery, would be 
anything but safe for a midnight traveler, who rode a swift 
going horse or drove with a light buggy Carnes, get your 
map and study out my new theory thereon." 


Carnes produced his map and spread it out upon his 
knee, and I followed his example with my own. 

" Now, observe," I began, " the south road runs straight 
and .smooth for twenty miles, intersected regularly by the 
mile sections." 


"Until a little north of Clyde, two miles, I believe they 
call it, a more curving irregular road runs southeast. Now, 
follow that road." 

"I'm after it." 

"It continues southeast for nearly ten miles, then the 
road forks." 

" Yes." 

" One fork, running directly south, takes you straight to 
some coal beds at Norristown " 

"Aye, aye!" 

" The other runs beyond the county line and it is not on 
our maps ; it takes an easterly course for nearly twenty 
miles, terminating at the river." 

" Ah ! I began to see !" 

" From Trafton to the river, then, is a little more than 
forty miles. You cross the river and are in another State. 
Up and down the river, for many miles, you have heavy 
timber ; not far inland you find several competing rail- 
roads. Now, my belief is, that after the excitement fol- 
lowing these robberies has had time to die out, the horses 
are hurried over this fifty miles of country, arid across th;; 


river, and kept in the timber until it is quite safe to ship 
them to a distant market." 

" But meantime, before they are taken to the river, where 
are they ambushed, then?" 

"Under our very noses; here in Trafton!" 

Games stared at me in consternation. 

"Old man," he said, at last, drawing along, deep breath, 
"you are either insane or inspired." 

" I believe I have caught an inspiration. But time will 
test my idea, ' whether it be from the gods or no.' These 
outlaws have proven themselves cunning, and fertile of 
brain. AVho would think of overhauling Trafton for these 
stolen horses ? The very boldness of the proceeding in- 
sures its safety." 

" I should think so. And how do you propose to carry 
out your search?" 

" We must begin at once, trusting to our wits for ways 
and means. In some way we must see or know the con- 
tents of every barn, stable, granary, store-house, outbuild- 
ing, and abandoned dwelling, in and about Trafton. No 
man's property, be he what he may, must be held exempt." 

"Do you think, then, that the stolen horses, the last haul 
of course, are still in Trafton?" 

"It is not quite a week since the horses were taken ; the 
' nine days' wonder' is still alive. If my theory is correct, 
they are still in Trafton !" 




It was the day of Miss Manvers' garden party, and a 
brighter or more auspicious one could not have dropped 
from the hand of the Maker of days. 

Never did the earth seem fairer, and seldom did the sun 
shine upon a lovelier scene than that presented to my gaze 
as I turned aside from the dusty highway, and paced slowly 
up the avenue leading to the Hill House. 

E.ven now the picture and the scenes and incidents of the 
day, rise before my mental vision, a graceful, sunlit, yet 
fateful panorama. 

I sec the heiress, as she glides across the lawn to greet 
me, her brunette cheeks glowing, her lips wreathed in 
smiles. She wears a costume that is a marvel of diaphanous 
creamy material, lighted up here and there with dashes of 
vivid crimson. Crimson roses adorn the loops and rippling 
waves of her glossy hair, and nestle in the rich lace at her 
throat, And, as I clasp her little hand, and utter the com- 
monplaces of greeting, 1 note that the eye is. even more 
brilliant than usual, the cheek and lip tinged with the 
vivid hue left by excitement, and, underneath the gay 


badinage and vivacious hospitality, a suppressed some- 
thing: anxiety expectation, displeasure, disappointment; 
which, I can not guess. I only see that something has ruffled 
my fair hostess, and given to her thoughts, even on this 
bright day, an under current that is the reverse of pleasant. 

The grounds are beautiful and commodious, tastefully 
arranged and decorated for the occasion, and the elite of 
Trafton is there ; all, save Louise Barnard and Dr. Bethel. 

"Have you heard from Dr. Barnard since noon?" queries 
my hostess, as we cross the lawn to join a group gathered 
about an archery target. " I have almost regretted giving 
this party. It seems unfeeling to be enjoying ourselves 
here, and poor Louise bowed down with grief and anxiety 
beside a father who is, perhaps, dying. 

"Not dying, I hope." 

"Oh, we all shall hope until hope is denied us. I sup- 
pose his chance for life is one in a thousand. I am so 
f sorry, and we shall miss Louise and Dr. Bethel so much." 

" Bethel is in close attendance?" 

"Yes, Dr. Barnard has all confidence in him; and 
then you know the nature of his relation with the family?" 

"His relation; that of family physician, I suppose?" 

Miss Manvers draws back her creamy skirts as we brush 
past a thorny rose tree. 

" That of family physician ; yes, and prospective son- 

"Ah! I suspected an attachment there." 


"It appears they have been privately engaged for some 
time, with the consent of the Barnards, of course. It has 
only just been publicly announced ; rather it will be; I 
had it from Mrs. Barnard this morning. Dr. Barnard de- 
sires that it should be made known. He believes himself 
dying, and wishes Trafton to know that he sanctions the 

Her voice has an undertone of constraint which accords 
with her manner, and I, remembering the scene of a week 
before, comprehend and pity. In announcing her friend's 
betrothal she proclaims the death of her own hope. 

I do not resume the subject, and soon we are in the midst 
of a gay group, chattering with a bevy of fair girls, and 
receiving from one or two Trafton gallants, glances of 
envious disfavor, which I, desiring to mortify vanity, at- 
tributed to my new Summer suit rather than to my own 
personal self. 

Arch Brookhouse is the next arrival, and almost the 
last. He comes in among us perfumed and smiling, and 
is received with marked favor. My new costume has now 
a rival, for Arch is as correct a gentleman of fashion as 
ever existed outside of a tailor's window. 

He is in wonderful spirits, too, adding zest to the mer- 
riment of the gay group of which he soon becomes the 

After a time bows and quivers come more prominently 
into use. Archery is having its first season in Trafton. 



Some of the young ladies have yet to be initiated into the 
use of the bow, and presently I find myself instructing the 
pretty sixteen-year-old sister of my friend, Charlie Harris. 

She manages her bow gracefully, but with a weak hand; 
her aim is far from accurate, and I find ample occupation 
in following the erratic movements of her arrows. 

Brookhouse and Miss Manvers are both experts with 
the bow. They send a few arrows flying home to the very 
center of the target, and then withdraw from the sport, and 
finally saunter away together, the hand of the lady resting 
confidingly upon her escort's arm. 

"Arn't they a pretty couple?" exclaims my little pupil, 
twanging her bow-string as she turns to look after them. 
" I do wonder if they are engaged." 

"So do I," I answer, with much fervor. 

She favors me with a quick roguish glance, and laughs 

" I don't know," turning back to her momentarily for- 
gotten pastime. " Mr. Brookhouse has been very attentive, 
and for a long time we all thought him the favored one, 
until Dr. Bethel came, and since you appeared in Trafton. 
Ah! I'm afraid Adele is a bit of a flirt." 

And astute Miss sixteen shoots me another mischievous 
glance, and poises her arrow with all the nonchalance of a 

Again I glance in.the direction taken by my hostess and 
her cavalier, but they have disappeared among the plen- 
tiful shrubbery. 


I turn back to my roguish little pupil, now provokingly 
intent upon her archery practice. 

Once more the arrow is fixed ; she takes aim with much 
deliberation, and puts forth all her strength to the bending 
of the bow. Twang ! whizz ! the arrow speeds fast and 
far and foul. It finds lodgment in a thicket of roses, 
that go clambering over a graceful trellis, full ten feet to 
the right of the target. 

There is a shout of merriment. Mademoiselle throws 
down the bow with a little gesture of despair, and I hasten 
toward the trellis intent upon recapturing the missent 

As I am about to thrust my hand in among the roses, I 
am startled by a voice from the opposite side ; startled be- 
cause the voice is that of my hostess, thrilling with intens- 
est anger, and very near me. 

" It has gone far enough ! It has gone too far. It must 
stop now, or " 

" Or you will make a confounded fool of yourself." 

The voice is that of Arch Brookhouse, disagreeably con- 
temptuous, provokingly calm. 

"No matter. What will it make of you?" 

The words begin wrathful and sibilant, and end with a 
hiss. Can that be the voice of my hostess? 

Making a pretense of search I press my face closer to 
the trellis and peer through. 

I see Adele Manvers, her face livid with passion, her 


eyes ablaze, her lips twitching convulsively. There is no 
undercurrent of feeling now. Rage, defiance, desperation, 
are stamped upon her every feature. 

Opposite her stands Arch Brookhouse, his attitude that 
of careless indifference, an insolent smile upon his coun- 

" If I were you, I would drop that nonsense," he says, 
coolly. " You might make an inning with this new city 
sprig, perhaps. He looks like an easy fish to catch; more 
money than brains, I should say." 

"I think his brains will compare favorably with yours; 
he is nothing to me " 

Brookhouse suddenly shifts his position. 

"Don't you see the arrow ?" calls a voice behind me, and 
so near that I know Miss Harris is coming to assist my 

I catch up the arrow and turn to meet her. 

No rustle of the leaves has betrayed my presence ; the 
sound of our voices, and their nearness, is drowned by the 
general hilarity. 

We return to our archery, and the two behind the screen 
finish their strange interview. How, lam nnable to guess 
from their faces, when, after a time, they are once more 
among us, Brookhouse as unruffled as ever, Miss Manvers 
flushed, nervous, and feverishly gay. 

Throughout the remainder of the fete, the face of my 
hostess is continually before me ; not as her guests see it, 

" It has gone far enough! It has gone too far. It must stop 
now, or " page 227. 



fair, smiling, and serene, but pallid, passionate, vengeful 
as I saw it from behind the rose thicket. And I am 
haunted by the thought that somewhere, sometime, I have 
seen just such a face; just such dusky, gleaming, angry eyes; 
just such a scornful, quivering mouth; just such drawn 
and desperate features. 

Now and then I find time to chuckle over the words, 
uncomplimentary in intent, but quite satisfactory to me 
" a city sprig with more money than brains." 

So this is the ultimatum of Mr. Brookhouse? Some 
day, perhaps, he may cherish another opinion, at least so 
far as the money is concerned. 

Then, while the gayety goes on, I think of Groveland 
and its mystery; of the anonymous warning, the album 
verse, the initials A. B. Again I take my wild John Gil- 
pin ride, with one arm limp and bleeding. 

"Ah," I say to myself, thinking wrathfully of his taunt- 
ing words and insolent bearing, which my hostess had 
seemed powerless to resent, " Ah, my gentleman, if I should 
trace that unlucky bullet to you, then shall Miss Manvers 
rejoice at your downfall !" 

What was the occasion of their quarrel ? What was the 
meaning of their strange words ? 

Again and again I ask myself the question as I go home 
through the August darkness, having first seen pretty Net- 
tie Harris safely inside her father's cottage gate. 

But I find no satisfactory answer to my questions. I 


might have dismissed the matter from my thoughts as only 
a lover's quarrel, save for the last words uttered by Brook- 
house. But lovers are not apt to advise their sweethearts 
to "make an inning" with another fellow. If jealousy 
existed, it was assuredly all on the side of the lady. 

Having watched them narrowly after their interview be- 
hind the rose trellis, I am inclined to think it was not a 
lover's quarrel; and if not that, what was it? 

I give up the riddle at last, but I can not dismiss the 
scene from my mental vision, still less can I banish the re- 
membrance of the white, angry face, and the tormenting 
fancy that I have not seen it to-day for the first time. 

I am perplexed and annoyed. 

I stop at the office desk to light a cigar and exchange a 
word with "mine host." Dimber Joe is writing ostenta- 
tiously at a small table, and Blake Simpson is smoking on 
the piazza. 

The sight of the two rogues, so inert and mysterious, 
gives me an added twinge of annoyance. I cut short my 
converse with the landlord and go up to my room. 

Carnes is sitting before a small table, upon which his 
two elbows are planted; his fingers are twisted in his thick 
hair, and his head is bent so low over an open book that 
his nose seems quite ready to plow up the page. 

Coming closer, I see that he is glowering over a pictured 
face in his treasured " rogues' gallery." 

"If you want to study Blake Simpson's cranium," I say, 


testily, "why don't you take the living subject? He's 
down-stairs at this moment." 

"I've been studying the original till my head got dizzy," 
replies Carries, pushing back the book and tilting back in 
his chair. " The fact is, the fellow conducts himself so 
confoundedly like a decent mortal, that I have to appeal 
to the gallery occasionally to convince myself that it is 
Blake himself, and not his twin brother." 

I laugh at this characteristic whim, and, drawing the 
book toward me, carelessly glance from page to page. 

Carries prides himself upon his "gallery." He has a 
large and motley collection of rogues of all denominations : 
thieves, murderers, burglars, counterfeiters, swindlers, fly 
crooks of every sort, and of both sexes. 

" They've been here four days now," Carnes goes on, 
plaintively, "and nothing has happened yet. It's enough 
to make a man lose faith in 'Bene Coves.' I wonder " 

" Ah !" The exclamation falls sharply from my lips, the 
"gallery" almost falls from my hands. 

Carnes leaves his speech unfinished and gazes anxiously 
at me, while I sit long and silently studying a pictured 

By-and-by I close the book and replace it upon the 

One vexed question is answered ; I know now why the 
white, angry face of Adele Manvers has haunted me as a 
shadow from the past. 


I arise and pace the floor restlessly; like Theseus, I 
have grasped the clue that shall lead me from the maze. 

After a time, Games goes out to inform himself as to the 
movements of Blake and Dimber Joe. 

Midnight comes, but no Games. 

The house is hushed in sleep. I lock the door, ex- 
tinguish my light, and, lowering myself noiselessly from 
the window to the ground, turn my steps toward the scene 
of the afternoon revel. 

In the darkness and silence I reach my destination, and 
scaling a high paling, stand once more in the grounds of 
The Hill. 

"All!" The exclamation falls sharply from my lips, the 
lery" almost falls from my hands. page 233. 





While Miss Manvers was bidding farewell to the latest 
of her guests, and the " average Traftonite" was making 
his first voyage into dreamland, Dr. Barnard closed his 
eyes upon Trafton forever, and slept that long, sound, last, 
best sleep that comes once to all of us, and I, as well as 
numerous other restless sleepers, was awakened in the early 
morning by the sound of the tolling bell. 

It was sad news to many, for Dr. Barnard was an old 
and well-beloved citizen. 

It afforded a new subject for gossip to many more, who 
now learned for the first time that Louise Barnard was af- 
fianced to Dr. Carl Bethel, and that Dr. Barnard, with 
almost his latest breath, had proclaimed his entire faith 
in the young man's honor, by formally sanctioning his en- 
gagement with Louise. 

I had not seen Bethel since my return from the city, un- 
til we met that day, and exchanged a few words across the 
dinner table. 

He looked worn and weary, and seemed to have forgot- 
ten his own annoyances and interests in the absorption of 


his regret for the loss of his old friend and associate, and 
sympathy with the sorrow of his beloved. 

I had spent the entire morning in writing a long letter 
to my Chief, giving a detailed account of my acquaintance 
with Miss Manvers, and a description of the lady, her style 
of living, and, above all, more graphic than all, my expe- 
rience of the previous day, up to the moment when I closed 
the " rogues' gallery" and opened my eyes to a new and 
startling possibility. 

This document I addressed to a city post-office box, and, 
having sealed it carefully, registered and dispatched it 
through the Trafton post-office. 

In the afternoon I received an express package from 
Baysville. It was a book, so the agent said. Innocent 
enough, no doubt, nevertheless I did not open it until I 
had closed and locked my door upon all intruders. 

It was a book. A cheap volume of trashy poems, but 
the middle leaves were cut away, and in their place I found 
a bulky letter. 

It was Earle's report from Amora. 

It was very statistical, very long, and dry because of its 
minuteness of detail, and the constant recurrence of dates 
and figures. But it was most interesting to me. 

Arch Brookhouse and his brother, Louis, had both been 
students at Amora. 

Grace Ballou and Nellie Ewing had been fellow-students 
with them one year ago. Last term, however, Arch had 


not been a student, but Louis Brookhouse, Grace Ballou, 
Xellie Ewing, Mamie Rutger, Amy Holmes, and Johnny 
La Porte, had all been in attendance. 

For the last three named this was their first term. 

Mamie Rutger had been expelled for misconduct, during 
the last half of the term. 

Johnny La Porte and Louis Brookhouse had been " chums'' 
and were, accordingly, pretty wild. 

Very little could be learned concerning Amy Holmes, pre- 
vious toher coming to Amora. She was said to be an orphan, 
and came from the South. Nothing more definite could 
be learned concerning her abiding place. She was lively, 
dashing and stylish, not particularly fond of study; in fact 
was considered one of the " loudest" girls in the school. 
Her escapades had been numerous and she had, on more 
than one occasion, narrowly escaped expulsion. She was 
particularly intimate with Nellie Ewing, Mamie Rutger, 
and Grace Ballon; and had been seen, on several occasions, 
in the company of Arch Brookhouse, who was very often 
at Amora. 

Concerning Ed. Dwight, Earle could say very little. 

D wight had left town with his team early on Monday 
morning, and had not yet returned. Earle had managed, 
however, to obtain lodgings at Dwight's boarding-house, 
and had made the acquaintance of one of the "girls," who 
had contributed the information that Arch Brookhouse had 
several times dined there with Dwight, 


This is an abbreviated account of what Earle's report 
contained. Accompanying said report was an autograph 
obtained from Professor Asa Bartlett, and it bore not the 
slightest resemblance to the printed album lines. 

Considering the time consumed in the investigation, Earle 
had done remarkably well. He had done well, too, in go- 
ing to Baysville to send the letter. 

How many threads were now in my hands, and yet how 
powerless I was for the time! 

Only yesterday I had made, or so I believed, two most 
important discoveries, and yet I could turn them to no ac- 
count for the present. 

Upon the first, it would be unwise to act until further 
information had been forwarded me by my Chief. 

As for the second, there was nothing to do but watch. 
I could not take the initiative step. Action depended solely 
upon others, and as to the identity of these others I scarce 
could give a guess. 

Louis Brookhouse had not been seen outside his home 
since his arrival, in a crippled condition, the day after Grace 
Ballou's escapade. I must see Louis Brookhouse. I must 
know the nature of that "injury" which Dr. Bethel had 
been called upon to attend. 

For the first, I must bide my time until the youth was 
sufficiently recovered to appear in public. For the second, 
I must rely on Bethel, and, until the last sorrowful tribute 
of respect and affection had been paid the dead, I could, 
scarcely hope for an interview with him. 


A crisis must come soon, but it was not in our power to 
hasten it. 

So long as Dimber Joe and Blake Simpson continued 
inert and seemingly aimless, so long as the days brought 
no new event and the nights brought neither discovery on 
our part nor movement on the part of the horse-thieves, 
Games and I had only to wait and watch watch watch. 

Our days, to the onlooker, must have seemed only idle 
indeed, but still they were busy days. 

Carnes roamed about the town, inspecting the barns and 
buildings closely, when he could venture a near approach 
without arousing suspicion or objection ; at a distance, when 
intrusion would be unsafe or unwelcome. 

Dr. Barnard was buried on Thursday, and on the after- 
noon of that day, as I was returning from the funeral in 
fact, I received a report from Wyman. 

Stripped of its details, and reduced to bare facts, it 
amounted to this: 

The "dummy" had proven of actual service. Wyman 
had found him with very little trouble, and in just the 
right place. He was domiciled with the La Porte family, 
and had been since the first week of his advent among the 
Grovelanders, and Wyman was indebted to him for much 
of the information contained in his report. 

Acting according to our instructions, or, rather, as we 
had expected and desired, overacting them, the "dummy" 

had soon contrived to let the Grovelanders know that he 
16 *11 


was a detective, sent out from the city to occupy the prem- 
ises and keep his eyes open. He talked freely of the miss- 
ing girls, always frankly avowing that it was his opinion, 
as well as the opinion of his superiors, that the two girls 
had been murdered. Indeed, he darkly hinted that certain 
facts corroborative of this theory had been discovered, and 
then he lapsed into vagueness and silence. AVhen ques- 
tioned as to his system or intentions regarding the investi- 
gation he became profoundly mysterious, oracular, and un- 

The result was all that we could have wished. The less 
intelligent among his critics looked upon him as a fountain 
of wisdom and cunning and skill. The more acute and ob- 
servant fathomed his shallowncss, but immediately set it 
down as a bit of clever acting, and, joining with their less 
penetrating neighbors, voted our "dummy" " wise as a ser- 
pent" underneath his "harmless as a dove" exterior, :u:d 
looked confidently forward to something startling when 
he should finally arouse to action. 

To which class of critics Johnny La Porte belonged, 
Wyman had been unable to discover, for during his stay 
in Groveland he had not seen young La Porte. 

Whatever his opinion may have been, the young man had 
been among the first to seek our "dnmmy's" acquaintance, 
which he had cultivated so persistently that within less than 
a fortnight the two had become most friendly, and appar- 
ently appreciative of each other's society, and the "dummy" 


had found an abiding place underneath the hospitable roof 
of La Porte pere. 

Johnny La Porte was a spoiled son. He seemed to have 
had his own way always, and it had not been a way to 
wisdom. He was not dissipated ; had none of the larger 
and more masculine vices, but he was idle, a shirk at school 
and at home. He had no business tact, and seemed as little 
inclined to make of himself a decent farmer as he was inca- 
pable of becoming a good financier, merchant, or mechanic. 

He was short of stature, and girlishly pretty, having small 
oval features, languid black eyes, black curly hair, and a 
rich complexion of olive and red. 

He drove a fine span of blacks before a jaunty light car- 
riage, and was seldom seen with his turnout except when 
accompanied by some one of the many pretty girls about 

In fact, he was that most obnoxious creature, a male flirt. 
He had roved from one bright Groveland flower to 
another, ever since his graduation from jackets to tail coats. 
During the previous Autumn and Winter, he had been very 
devoted to Nell ie E wing ; but, since their return from school, 
in the Spring, his attentions had not been quite so marked, 
although Xellie had several times been seen behind the 
blacks and in company with the fickle Johnny. 

In short, after reading all that Wyman could say of him, 
I summed Johnny La Porte up, and catalogued him as 
follows : 


Vain, weak, idle, handsome, fickle, selfish, good-natured 
when not interfered with, over fond of pleasure, easily in- 
fluenced, and a spendthrift. 

What might or might not be expected of such a character? 

He was, as Mrs. Ballon had said, popular among the 
young people, especially the young ladies; and where do 
you find a young man that drives a fine turnout, carries a 
well-filled purse, dances a little, sings a fair tenor and plays 
his own accompaniment, is handsome, and always ready 
for a frolic, who is not popular with the ladies? 

Wyman had not seen La Porte, and for this reason : 

On the evening of the 17th, young La Porte had driven 
away from home with his black horses, telling our "dummy," 
in confidence, that he was " going to take a pretty girl out 

La Porte and the "dummy" "roomed together," in true 
country fashion; and, at midnight, or later, the "dummy" 
could not be precise as to the lateness of the hour, he re- 
turned. Entering the room with evident caution, he never- 
theless awoke the "dummy," who, turning lazily on his 
pillow, saw La Porte taking from a drawer something 
white, which our "dummy" supposed to be a handful of 
handkerchiefs, and from a shelf a bottle of brandy. 

On seeing the open eyes of our "dummy," La Porte had 
explained as follows: 

One of his horses went lame a bit, and he intended to 
give him a little treatment. The "dummy" must not dis- 

" Entering the room with evident caution, he nevertheless awoke 
the "dummy," who, turning lazily on his pillow, saw La Porte 
taking from a drawer something white," page 244. 



turb himself, as the hired man was on hand to render all 
the necessary help. 

Then, as he was leaving the room, La Porte had added : 

"By the by, if the horse comes out all right, and I am 
gone when you turn out in the morning, tell the old man 
that I am off for Bays vi lie to see about the club excursion." 

Wondering vaguely what species of lameness it was that 
must be treated with brandy and bandaged with linen 
handkerchiefs, the "dummy" fell asleep, and finding the 
young man absent on the following morning, delivered his 
message as directed. 

It was received without comment, as such excursions 
were of frequent occurrence, and as no one presumed to 
question the movements of the spoiled young pleasure 

He did not return on the next day, but the morning of 
the 19th brought him home, not, however, as he went, but 
in company with a sewing-machine agent whom he called 
Ed., and whose full name was Edward S. Dwight. 

La Porte stated that his horse was lame again, and that 
he had left his team at Amora, and returned with Dwight 
in the machine wagon. 

During that day La Porte accompanied Dwight on his 
rounds among the farmers, and early the following morn- 
ing the two returned together to Amora. 

That was a week ago. The following Sunday, La Porte 
and Dwight had again visited Groveland, this time with 


La Forte's own turnout. During the day they had made 
several calls upon young ladies, and this time our "dummy," 
being cordially invited, accompanied them on their rounds. 

On Monday morning, as before, they returned to Amora. 
and since then had not reappeared in Groveland. 

Wyman, according to instructions, had visited Mrs. 
Ballou. She had nothing new to communicate, but she 
gave into his hands a small package, which Wyman had 
inclosed with his report. 

It contained three photographs ; one of Miss Amy 
Holmes, one of Johnny La Porte, and a third of the same 
gentleman and Mr. Ed. Dvvight, a rather rakish-looking 

I read and re-read AVyman's long, complete descriptive 
report. I studied the photographed faces again and again, 
and that evening, before the sunset had fairly faded from 
the west, I told Games the whole story, and placed before 
him the printed letter and the autographs, photographs and 




" And you want me to go to New Orleans?" says Carnes, 
as he rises slowly, and stretches himself urj to his fullest 
height, following up his words with an immense yawn. 
"What for, now?" 

He has listened so attentively, so silently, with such 
moveless, intelligent eagerness, that I forgive him the yawn, 
and treat myself to a long breath of restfulness and relief, 
at being at last unburdened of this great secret, and he 
crosses the room and drops into his favorite attitude beside 
the window that overlooks the fast darkening street. 

"I hardly know just what I expect you to unearth in 
New Orleans," I answer, after a pause of some moments. 
"But I have a notion that the links we have failed to find 
here may be in hiding down there." 

Carnes plunges his hands deep down into his pockets. I 
know, from the intentness of his face, and the unwinking 
fixedness of the eyes that stare yet see nothing beyond the 
panorama conjured by his own imagination, that he is 
studying diligently at the Groveland problem; and I sit 
silently, waiting his first movement, that I feel sure will 


be speedily followed by something in the way of an opinion. 

"It's a queer muddle," he says at last, coming back to 
his chair and dropping into his former attitude of interested 
attention. " It's a queer muddle ; and, it seems to me, you 
have got hold of the wrong end of the business." 

" How the wrong end ?" 

" Why, you have your supposed principals and acces- 
sories, and, perhaps, the outline of a plot ; but where is 
your motive?" 

"Where, indeed ! I have not even found a theory that 
suits me, although I have pondered over various supposi- 
tions. You are good at this sort of analysis, Carnes. Can't 
you help me to some sort of a theory that won't break of its 
own weight?" 

Carnes bit his under lip and pondered. 

"How far have you got?" he asked, presently. 

"I will tell -you how I have reasoned thus far. Ex- 
perience and statistics have proved that, of all the missing 
people, male and female, whose dead bodies are never found, 
or whose deaths are never satisfactorily proven, more than 
three-fourths have eventually turned up alive, or it is found 
they have lived many years after they were numbered among 
the missing. In the majority of cases, pay four to one, 
where missing persons, supposed to have been dead, are 
proved to be alive, it is also proved that they have ' disap- 
peared' of their own free will. In the list of missing young 
girls, the police records show that two-thirds of those sup- 


posed to have been murdered or abducted, have eloped or 
forsaken their friends of their own free will. Let us keep 
in mind these statistics and begin with Nellie Ewing. Was 
she murdered? Was she forcibly abducted? Did she run 

" Umpli ! If she were a man I might venture an opinion," 
broke in Carnes. 

"Let .us see. She left her house at sunset, riding a 
brown pony, and intent, or seeming so, upon visiting her 
friend, Grace Ballou." 

"Grace Ballon oh !" Carnes lifts his head, then drops 
it again, quickly. 

I note the gesture and the ejaculation, and smile as I 

" She had announced her intention of spending the night 
with her friend Grace, but instead of so doing, she is sud- 
denly afflicted with a headache, and, at dusk, or perhaps 
even later, she sets out, on her brown pony, for home, a 
distance of about four miles." 

"Um ah!" from Carnes. 

"She is not seen after that. Neither is the brown pony. 
Was she murdered? If so, no trace of her body, no clue 
to her murderer, no motive for the deed, has been discovered. 
And the horse ; if she was murdered, was the horse 
slaughtered also? And were they both buried in one 
grave? She was riding alone, after nightfall, over a 
country road. She might have been assailed by tramps or 


stragglers of some sort, but the first investigation proved 
that nothing in the form of tramp, or stranger of any sort, 
had been seen about Groveland, neither on that day nor for 
many days previous. And again, a tramp who might have 
killed her to secure the horse, would hardly have tarried 
to conceal the body so effectually that the most thorough 
search could not bring it to light. Nor would he have 
carried it with him beyond the reach of search. Was she 
murdered for revenge, or from motives of jealousy ? Then, 
in all probability, the brown horse would have been found 
wandering somewhere at large." 

" It won't do," mutters Carnes, half to himself, and with 
a slow wag of the head ; " it won't do." 

" That's what I said to myself, after reviewing the pros 
and cons of the ' murder theory.' Now, was Nellie Ewing 
abducted? She may have been, but, again, there's the 
missing horse. If a tramp or a horse-thief would take the 
horse, and leave the girl, a desperate lover would just as 
surely take the girl and leave the horse. Again, an avari- 
cious lover migh^ with some difficulty, secure both horse 
and rider, but he could hardly travel far with an unwill- 
ing girl and a stolen horse, without becoming uncomfort- 
ably conspicuous. Did the young lady elope? If so, then 
it is my belief that she and her horse parted company very 
soon after she left the widow Ballou's. And here ends my 
theorizing. How, and why, and whither, the horse was 
spirited away, I can not guess." 


" If the thing had occurred in Traftou," says Carnes, 
thoughtfully, " one might account for the horse." 

"True but as itdid notoccur within the limit of theTraf- 
ton operations, I naturally concluded that, if the young lady 
really did abscond, her lover must have had a confederate 
who took charge of the horse. But, at first, this seemed to 
me improbable." 

" Why improbable ?" 

" Because I did not view the matter, as you do now, in 
the light of after discoveries and developments." 

" Then you think now that Miss Ewing eloped?" 

" I think she was not murdered ; and the elopement 
theory is much more plausible, more reasonable, all things 
considered, than that of abduction. First of all, there are 
the movements of the girl herself. Supposing her quar- 
tered for the night with her friend Grace, 'Squire Ewing 
felt no uneasiness at her absence, even when it was pro- 
longed into the second day. Might she not have consid- 
ered all this when she planned her flight ? When she was 
actually missed, she had two days the start of her inquiring 

" True." 

"Then, not long after, Mamie Rutger, a friend and school- 
mate ol the missing Nellie, also disappears. While it is 
yet daylight, or at least hardly dark, she vanishes from her 
father's very door-step, and is seen no more. Now, let me cal 1 
your attention to some facts. Farmer Rutger's house stnrds 


on a bit of rising ground ; the road runs east and west. 
To the east of the house is a thick grove of young trees 
planted as a wind-break for the cattle. This belt of trees 
begins at the front of the house and extends northward, the 

o ' 

house being on the north side of the highway, past the 
barns, cow stables, and sheep pens. So while a person in 
the front portion of the house, on the porch or in the door- 
yard, can obtain a clear view of the road to the west, those 
farther back, in the kitchen, the stables, or the milking 
sheds, are shut off from a view of the road by the wind- 
break on the one hand, by a high orchard hedge on the 
other, and by the house and thick door-yard shrubbery in 
front. For over an hour, on the night of her disappear- 
ance, Mamie Rutger was the only person within view of 
this highway. The hired girl was in the kitchen washing 
up the supper things. Mrs. Rutger, who, by-the-by, is 
Miss Mamie's step-mother, was skimming milk in the 
cellar, and Mr. Rutger, with the two hired men, were water- 
ing and feeding the stock and milking the cows. When 
the work for the night was done and the lamps were lighted, 
if they thought of Mamie at all it was as sitting alone on the 
front piazza, or perched in her chamber window up-stairs, 
enjoying the quiet of the evening. It was only when their 
early bed-time came that the girl's absence, and more than 
that, her unusual silence, was noted, and that a search 
proved her missing. Was she murdered ? That theory in 
this case is so unreasonable that 1 discard it at once." 
Games nodded his head approvingly. 


" Was she abducted ? Possibly ; but to my mind, it is 
not probable. Mamie Rutger was a gypsy ish lassie, pretty 
as a May blossom, skittish as a colt, hard to- govern and 
prone to adventurous escapades. Her father was kind 
and her step-mother meant to be so, but the latter per- 
petually frowned down the girl's innocent hilarity, and 
curbed her gayety, when she could, with a stern hand. 
They sent her to school to tame her, and the faculty, after 
bearing with her, and forgiving her many mischievous 
pranks because of her youth, at last sent her home in dis- 
grace, expelled. If this girl, wearied of a humdrum farm- 
house existence and thirsting for a broader glimpse of the 
gay outer world, had planned an elopement or run-away 
escapade, she could have chosen no better time. While all 
the others are busy at their evening task, she, from the 
front, watches for a swift horse and a covered buggy, which 
comes from the west. Sure that no eyes are looking, she 
awaits it at the gate, springs in, with a backward glance, 
and when she is missed, is miles away." 

"Yes, I see," comments Carnes, dryly; "it's a pity 
your second sight couldn't keep 'em in view till ye see 
where they land." 

I curb my imagination. That useful quality is deficient 
in the cranium of my comrade; he can neither follow nor 

" Well, here is the condensed truth for you," I reply, 
amiably; "for this much we have ocular and oral testi- 


mony: Four young ladies attend school at Amora; all are 
pretty, under the age of discretion, and, with perhaps one 
exception, little versed in the ways of the world and its 
wickedness. During their sojourn at school, where they 
are not under constant discipline o\ving to the fact that 
they all board outside of the Seminary, and all together, 
they are much in the society of four young men, two of 
whom are students of the Seminary. This quartette of 
youths are more or less good looking, and all of them 
notably 'gay and festive,' after the manner of the stereo- 
typed young man of the period." 

" Right you are now," ejaculated Carnes. 

"Just how these gentlemen divided their affections or 
attentions," I continue, "it is difficult to say, in regard to 
all. We know that Mr. Johnny La Porte was the chosen 
cavalier of Miss Ewing, and that Arch Brookhouse and 
Amy Holmes were frequently seen in each other's society. 
We are told that the eight young people formed frequent 
pleasure parties; riding, picnicking, passing social evenings 

"They leave school ; their jolly companionship is over. 
By-and-by, Nellie Ewing disappears; a little later, 
Mamie Rutger is also missing; after a little time the other 
two young ladies are caught in the act of escaping from 
home, by the means of a ladder placed at their chamber 
window by an unknown man, while a second, it is sup- 
posed, awaits their coming with horses and vehicle. This 


much for the ladies of this octette. Now, upon inquiring 
after the whereabouts of the gentlemen, we find that upon 
the night of this last named escapade, Johnny La Porte, 
with his buggy and horses, was absent from home from 
sunset until after midnight. That he returned when all the 
household was asleep, and securing some clean handker- 
chiefs and a flask of brandy, ostensibly to doctor a sick 
horse, he again goes, and returns after an absence of two 
days, accompanied by another member of the octette, Mr, 
Ed. Dwight," 

"That's a point," assented Games. 

" Xow, we have previously learned," I resume, "that said 
Dwight is about to aband'on his old trade and quit the 
country. We also remember that Mrs. Ballou shot at, and 
believes she hit, the man who was assisting her daughter 
and guest to escape from the house. Very good. During 
the time that Johnny La Porte is absent from his home, 
Mr. Louis Brookhouse is brought home to Trafton, in a 
covered buggy, by some unknown friend, with a crippled 

"I see; that's a clincher," muttered Games, 

"This much for three of the gay Lotharios," I con- 
tinue. "Now for Arch Brookhouse. In Grace Ballou's 
autograph album is a couplet, very neatly printed and 
signed A. B. It bears date one year back, and one year 
ago Grace Ballou and Arch Brookhouse were both students 

at Amora. Notion^ since I received an interesting letter 



of warning, and I believe it was written by the same hand 
that indited the lines beginning 'I drink to the eyes of 
my schoolmate, Grace.' ' : 

Games opened his lips, but I hurried on. 

"I have noted one other thing, which, if you like, 
you may call coincidence of latitude. The eldest of the 
Brookhouse brothers is a resident of New Orleans. At 
about the time of Nellie Ewing's disappearance, Louis 
Brookhouse went to New Orleans, returning less than two 
weeks ago. Amy Holmes is vaguely described as being 
'somewhere South/ and Ed. Dwight meditates a Southern 
journey soon." 

"It looks like a league," says Games, scratching his 
head, and wrinkling his brows in perplexity. "Are they 
going to form a colony of some new sort? What's your 
notion ?" 

"My notion is that we had better not waste our time 
trying to guess out a motive. Consider the language of 
the telegram sent by Fred Brookhouse to his brother, and 
the reply to it, and then reflect upon the possible meaning 
of both. The New Orleans brother says : 

Hurry up the others, or we are likely to have a balk. 

Arch answers: 
Next week L will be on hand. 
" Hurry up the others ! What others ? Why are they 


likely to have a ( balk ?' Are the two missing girls there, 
in charge of Fred Brookhouse, and are they becoming res- 
tive at the non-appearance of the others? If they had suc- 
ceeded in escaping, would Grace Ballou and Amy Holmes 
have gone to New Orleans in company with Louis Brook- 
house ?" 

"By Saint Patrick, I begin to see !" cried Carnes. 

" The telegram sent by Arch," I resume, " implies that 
Louis was already here, or near here. Yet he made his 
first appearance at his father's house two days later. Is 
Ed. Dwight going to New Orleans to embrace the ' heel 
and toe business, 'under the patronage of Fred Brookhouse, 
who, it is said, is connected with a theater ? Is Johnny 
La Porte in hiding at Amora? or has he already 'gone to 
join the circus?'" 

Carnes springs suddenly to his feet. 

"By the powers, old man, I see how it looks to you;" he 
cries, "an' ye've got the thing by the right end at last. I'll 
go to New Orleans ; only say when. But," here his face 
lengthens a little, "ye must get Wyman, or some one else, 
here in my place. I wish we had got that horse rendez- 
vous hunted down." 

"As to that," I respond, "give yourself no uneasiness; 
"I believe that I have found the right place, and to-night 
I mean to confirm my suspicion." 

Carnes stares astonished. 

"How did you manage it?" he asks, "and when?" 


" Two days ago, and by accident. You will be surprised, 
Carnes. It is a barn." 

"It is?" 

" A lead-colored barn, finished in brown." 


"It is large, and nearly square/' I hasten to say, enjoy- 
ing his marked amazement. "A large stack of hay is 
pitched against the rear end, running the length of it. It 
lias a cupola and a flagstaff." 

Carnes simply stares. 

"I will send for Wyman if I need his help. What I 
am studying upon now is a sufficient pretext for sending 
you away suddenly." 

" I'll furnish that," Carnes says, with a droll roll of his 
eye. " To-morrow I'll get drunk beastly drunk. You 
shall inquire after me about the hotel and at Porter's. By- 
and-by I will come into the office too drunk to be endura- 
ble. You must be there to reprimand me. I grow in- 
solent ; you discharge me. I go away somewhere and sleep 
off the effects of my spree. You pay me my wages in the 
presence of the clerk, and at midnight I board the train en 
route for the Sunny South. You shall hear from me " 

"By telegraph," I interrupt. "We shall have a new 
night operator here within the week. I arranged for that 
when I was in the city, and wrote the old man, yesterday, 
to send him on at once." 

"All right; that's a good move," approved Carnes. 


"And now," I said, rising hastily, and consulting my 
watch, "I must go. To-night, or perhaps in the 'small 
hours/ we will talk over matters again, and I will explain 
myself further. For the present, good-by ; I am expected 
to-night at the Hill ; I shall pass the evening in the society 
of Miss Manvers." 




On the ensuing morning, Carries and I enacted the 
"quarrel scene," as planned by him the previous night. 

A more aggravated case of drunkenness than that pre- 
sented by Carnes, a little before noon, could not well be 
imagined. He was a marvel of reeling stupidity, offensive 
hiccoughs, and maudlin insolence. 

Quite a number of people were lounging about the office 
when Carnes staggered in, thus giving me my cue to com- 
mence. Among the rest were Dimber Joe and Blake 
Simpson. Our scene went off with considerable eclat; and, 
having paid Carnes at the office desk, with a magnificent 
disregard for expense, I turned to leave the room, looking 
back over my shoulder, to say with my grandest air: 

"If you think yourself sufficiently sober, you may come 
up-stairs and pack your things. The sooner you, and all 
that belongs to you, are out of my sight, the better I shall 
be pleased." 

I had been in my room less than half an hour, when I 
heard Carnes come stumbling noisily through the passage. 

When he was fairly within the room, he straightened 

" If you think yourself sufficiently sober, you may come up-stairs 
and pack your things. " page 262. 



himself suddenly, and uttered a sound midway between a 
laugh and a chuckle. 

"Old man," he said, coming slowly toward me, "I don't 
think I'll take the down train." 

"Why not?" 

" Because," winking absurdly, and then staring up at the 
ceiling while he finished his sentence, "the snakes are be- 
ginning to crawl. Blake Simpson has just paid his bill, 
and ordered his baggage to be sent to the 4:30 train." 

"Ah! And you will take the same train?" 

"Exactly; I'm curious to see where he is going, and to 
find out why. We must not remain together long, old 
man. Do you go down-stairs and tell them that I am 
sleeping off my booze up here. I shan't be very sober by 
4:30, but I'll manage to navigate to the depot." 

I went down to the office, after a few more words with 

Simpson and Dimber Joe had both disappeared. Two 
or three men were smoking outside, and a man by the 
window was falling asleep over a newspaper three days 
old. Mine host, in person, Avas lounging over the desk. 
He was idle, and inclined to be talkative. 

" You weren't trying to give Barney a scare, I suppose?" 
he said, as I approached the desk. "Do you really mean 
to let him go?" 

" I certainly do," I replied, as I lounged upon the desk. 
Then, coming nearer mine host, and increasing the distance 



between myself and the old man by the window; "I have 
been tolerably patient with the fellow. .He has his good 
points, but he has tired nie out. Patience has ceased to be 
a virtue. I can do very well without him now. He- never 
was much of a valet. But I thought him quite necessary 
as a companion on my fishing, hunting, and pedestrian ex- 
cursions. However, 1 have become pretty well acquainted 
with places and people, and I find there are plenty of guides 
and compainions to be picked up. I can do very well with- 
out Barney, especially as of late he is drunk oftener than 
he is sober." 

Mine host smiled fraternally. It was not my custom to 
be so communicative. Always, in my character of the 
wealthy aristocrat, I had maintained, for the benefit of those 
about me, an almost haughty reserve, only unbending when, 
because of my supposed financial importance, I "was made 
much of" in the social circles of the Trafton elite. To-day, 
however, I had an object to gain, and I did not bestow my 
condescending confidence without the expectation of "value 

" You'll have no trouble about finding company," said 
mine host, with a benign smile. " As you say, Barney 
has been a good many times off. He hasn't kept the best 
of company. He's been too much with that Briggs." 

"Yes," I assented, carelessly; " I have repeatedly warned 
him to let the fellow alone. Has he no occupation?" 

"Briggs? he's a sort of extra hand for 'Squire Brook- 


house; but, lie plays more than he works," trifling with the 
leaves of his register, and then casting his eye slowly down 
the .page before him. " Here's an odd thing, you might 
say," laughing, as he lifted his eye from the book, " I'm 
losing my most boisterous boarder and my quietest one at 
the same time." 

" Indeed ; who else is going ?" 

My entertainer cast a quick glance towards the occupant 
of the window, and lowered his voice as he replied: 

"The gentleman in gray." 

" In gray ?" absently. " Oh ! to be sure, a a patent- 
right agent, is he not?" 

Another glance toward the window, then lowering his 
voice an additional half tone, and favoring me with a 
knowing wink, he said : 

" Have you heard anything concerning him ?" 

"Concerning the gentleman in gray?" 

My entertainer nodded. 

"Assuredly not," said I, affecting languid surprise. 
"Nothing wrong about the gentleman, I hope?" 

"Nothing wrong, oh, no," leaning over the desk, and 
speaking slowly. "They say he is a detective" 

"A detective!" This time my surprise was not entirely 
feigned. "Oh is not that a sensationalism?" 

"Well," said my host, reflectively, " I might think so if 
I had heard it from any of the ordinary loungers; the 
fact is, I had no right to mention the matter. I don't think 
it is guessed at by many." 


He was beginning to retire within himself. I felt that 
I must not lose my ground, and became at once more in- 
terested, more affable. 

"Oh, I assure you, Mr. Holtz, I am quite interested. 
Do you really think the man a detective ? Pray, rely on 
my discretion." 

There were two hard, unpainted chairs behind the office 
desk, and some boxes contain ing cheap cigars, upon a shelf 
against the wall. I insinuated myself into one of the chairs, 
and presently, Mr. Holtz was seated near me in the other, 
smoking one of his own cigars, at my expense, while I, 
with a similar weed between my lips, drew from him, as 
best I could, all that he had heard and thought concerning 
Mr. Blake Simpson, the gentleman in gray. 

It was not much when all told, but Mr. Holtz consumed 
a full hour in telling it. 

Jim Long had been so frequently at the hotel since the 
advent of Blake and Dimber Joe, that mine host had re- 
marked upon the circumstance, and, only two days ago, had 
rallied Jim upon his growing social propensities. 

Whereupon, Jim had taken him aside, "quite privately 
and mysteriously," and confided to him the fact that he, 
Jim, had very good reason for believing Blake and Dim- 
ber, or, as my informer put it, "The gent in gray and the 
other stranger," to be detectives, who were secretly work- 
ing in the interest of 'Squire Brookhouse. 

What these very good reasons were, Jim had declined to 


state. But he had conjured Mr. Holtz to keep silent about 
the matter, as to bring the " detectives" into notice would 
be to impair their chances of ultimate success. 

Mr. Holtz had promised to keep the secret, and he had 
kept it two days. He should never think of mentioning 
the matter to any of his neighbors, he assured me fervently, 
as they, for the most part, being already much excited over 
the recent thefts, could hardly be expected to keep a dis- 
creet silence;- but I, " being a stranger, and a different 
person altogether," might, in Mr. Holtz's opinion, be safely 

I assured Mr. Holtz that he might rely upon me as he 
would upon himself, and he seemed quite satisfied with 
this rather equivocal statement. 

Having heard all that mine host could tell, I remained in 
further conversation with him long enough to avoid any 
appearance of abruptness, and then, offering the stereotyped 
excuse, " letters to write," I took a second cigar, pressed 
another upon my companion, and nodding to him with 
friendly familiarity, sauntered away to meditate in solitude 
upon what I had just learned. 

And so, if Mr. Holtz had not exaggerated, and Jim 
Long was not mistaken, Blake Simpson and Dimber Joe, 
two notorious prison birds, were vegetating in Trafton in 
the character of detectives! 

What a satire on my profession ! And yet, absurd and 
improbable as it seemed, it was not impossible. Indeed, 


did not this theory account for their seemingly aimless so- 
journ here? 

Jim Long was not the man to perpetrate a causeless jest. 
Neither was he one to form a hasty conclusion, or to make 
an assertion without a motive. 

Whether his statement were true or false, what had been 
his reason for confiding it to Mr. Holtz? It was not be- 
cause of any especial friendship for, or attachment to, that 
gentleman. Jim had no intimates, and had he chosen such, 
Mr. Holtz, gossipping, idle, stingy, and shallow of brain, 
would scarcely have been the man. 

Why, then, had he confided in the man ? 

Did he wish the report to circulate, and himself remain 
unknown as its author? AVas there some individual whose 
ears he wished it to reach through the talkative landlord ? 

I paused in my reflections, half startled by a sudden 

Had this shrewd, incomprehensible Yankee guessed my 
secret? And was Mr. Holtz's story intended for me? 

I arose to my feet, having formed a sudden resolution. 

I would know the truth concerning Jim Long. I would 
prove him my friend or my enemy, and the story told by 
Mr. Holtz should be my w r eapon of attack. 

As for Blake and Dimber, if they were figuring as dum- 
my detectives, who had instigated their masquerade ? 

Again I started, confronted by a strange new thought. 

'Squire Brookhouse had telegraphed to an agent to em- 


ploy for him two detectives. My Chief had been unable to 
discover what officers had been employed. Carnes and 
nivself, although we had kept a faithful lookout, had been 
able to discover no traces of a detective in Trafton. Indeed, 
except for ourselves and the two crooks, there were no 
strangers in the village, nor had there been since the rob- 

If Blake and Dimber were playing at detectives, why 
was it? Had the agent employed by 'Squire Brookhouse 
played him a trick, or had he been himself duped? 

'Squire Brookhouse had telegraphed to his lawyer, it was 
said. A lawyer could have no motive for duping a wealthy 
client, nor would lie be likely to be imposed upon or ap- 
proached by such men as Blake and Dimber. 

Had Squire Brookhouse procured the services of these 
men ? And i f so, why ? 

Carnes was endeavoring to sustain his role by taking a 
much needed nap upon his cot, but I now roused him with 
eager haste, and regaled his sleepy ears with the story I 
had just listened to below stairs. 

At first he seemed only to see the absurdity of the idea, 
and he buried his face in the pillow, to stifle the merriment 
which rose to his lips at the thought of (lie protection such 
detectives would be likely to afford the innocent Traftonites. 

Then he became Avide awake and sufficiently serious, and 
wo hastily d'scussed the possibilities of the case. 

There "was not much to be done in the way of iavestiga 


lion just then; Carnes would follow after Blake so long as 
it seemed necessary, or until he could inform me how to 
guard against any evil the crook might be intent upon. 

Meantime I must redouble my vigilance, and let no 
movement of Dimber's escape my notice. 

To this end I abandoned, for the present, my hastily 
formed resolution, to go at once in search of Jim Long, and 
bring about a better understanding between us. That er- 
rand, being of less importance than the surveillance of the 
rascal Dimber, could be left to a more convenient season, 
or so I reasoned in my pitiful blindness. 

Where was my professional wisdom then ? Where the 
unerring foresight, the fine instinct, that should have warned 
me of danger ahead? 

Had these been in action, one man might have been 
saved a shameful stigma, and another, from the verge of 
the grave. 




That afternoon dragged itself slowly away. 

I left Carnes in our room, and went below to note the 
movements of the two crooks. 

They were both upon the piazza ; Blake smoking a well- 
colored meerschaum and seemingly half asleep, and the 
Dimber, with his well-polished boot heels elevated to the 
piazza railing, reading from a brown volume, with a coun- 
tenance expressive of absorbed interest. 

I seated myself where I could observe both without 
seeming to do so, and tilting my hat over my nose, dropped 
into a lounging attitude. I suppose that I looked the per- 
sonification of careless indolence. I know that I felt per- 
plexed, annoyed, uncomfortable. 

Perplexed, because of the many mysteries that surrounded 
me. Annoyed, because while I longed to be actively at 
work upon the solution of these mysteries, I could only sit 
like a sleepy idiot, and furtively watch two rascals engaged 
in killing time, the one with a pipe, the other with a French 
novel. Uncomfortable, because the day was sultry, and 

the piazza chairs were hard, and constructed with little 



regard for the ease of the forms that would occupy them. 

But there comes an end to all things, or so it is said. At 
last there came an end to my loitering on the warm piazza. 

At the proper time Carncs came lumbering down-stairs 
seeming not yet sobered, but fully equipped for his journey. 
He took an affectionate leave of the landlord, receiving 
some excellent advice- in return. And, after favoring me 
with a farewell speech, half maudlin, half impertinent, 
wholly absurd, and intended for the benefit of the lookers- 
on, who certainly enjoyed the scene, he departed noisily, 
and, as Barney Cooley, was seen no more in Trafton. 

A few moments later, " the gentleman in gray" also took 
his leave, bestowing a polite nod upon one or two of the 
more social ones, but without so much as glancing toward 
Dimber Joe or myself. He walked sedately away, fol- 
lowed by the hotel factotum, who carried his natty travel- 
ing bag. 

Still Dimber read on at his seemingly endless novel, 
and still I lounged about the porch, sometimes smoking, 
sometimes feigning sleep. 

At last came supper time. I hailed it as a pleasant re- 
spite, and followed Dimber Joe to the dining room with 
considerable alacrity. 

Dr. Bethel came in soon, looking grave and weary. We 
saluted each other, but Bethel seemed little inclined to talk, 
and I was glad not to be engaged in a conversation which 
miarht detain me at the table after Joe had left it. 


Bethel, I knew, was much at the house of the Barnards. 
The shock caused by the loss of her husband, together with 
the fatigue occasioned by his illness, had prostrated Mrs. 
Barnard, who, it was said, was threatened with a fever, and 
Bethel was in constant attendance. 

As yet there had been no opportunity for the renewal 
of the conversation, concerning the grave robbery, which 
had been interrupted more than a week since by Mr. Brook- 
house, and afterwards effectually cut off by my flying visit 
to the city. 

When the Dimber left the table I followed him almost 
immediately, only to again find him poring over that ab- 
sorbing novel, and seemingly oblivious to all else. 

Sundown came, and then twilight. As darkness gathered, 
Dimber Joe laid down his book with evident reluctance 
and carefully lighted a cigar. 

Would he sit thus all the evening? I was chafing in- 
wardly. Would the man do nothing to break this mon- 

Presently a merry whistle broke upon the stillness, and 
quick steps came down the street. 

It was Charlie Harris and, as on a former occasion, he 
held a telegram in his hand. 

"For you," he said, having peered hard at me through 
the gloom. " It came half an hour ago, but I could not get 
down until now." 

I took the envelope from his hand and slowly arose. 


" I don't suppose you will want my help to read it," he 
said, with an odd laugh, as I turned toward the lighted 
office to peruse my message. 

I gave him a quick glance, and then said : 
"Come in, Harris, there may be an answer wanted." 
He followed me to the office desk, and I was conscious 
that he was watching my face as I perused its contents. 
This is what I read by the office lamp. 

4 . II , c, n, c, e, o, g, k, i, m, b, , s, i, a . 

A cipher message. I turned, half smiling, to meet the 
eye of Harris and kept my own eyes upon his face while 
I said : 

"I'm obliged to you, Harris, your writing is capital, and 
very easily read. No answer is required." 

The shrewd twinkle of his eye assured me that he 
comprehended my meaning as well as my words. 

I offered him a cigar, and lighted another for myself. 
Then we went out upon the piazza together. 

We had been in the office less than four minutes, but in 
that time Dimber Joe had disappeared, French novel and 
all. Much annoyed I peered up and down the street. 

To the left was the town proper, the stores, the depot, 
and other business places. To the right were dwellings 
and churches ; a hill, the summit and sides adorned with the 
best residences of the village ; then a hollow, where nestled 

O f f 

Dr. Bethel's small cottage ; and farther on, and back 


from the highway, Jim Long's cabin. Beyond these an- 
other hill, crowned by the capacious dwelling of the Brook- 
house family. 

Which way had Diniber gone?" 

It was early in the evening, too early to setout on an ex- 
pedition requiring stealth. Then I remembered that Joe 
had not left the hotel since dinner; probably he had gone 
to the post office. 

Harris was returning in that direction. I ran down 
the steps and strolled town ward in his company. 

" It's deuced hot," said Harris, with characteristic 
emphasis, as he lifted his hat to wipe a perspiring brow. 
" My office is the warmest hole in town after the breeze 
goes down, and I've got to stay there until midnight." 

"Extra business?" I inquired. 

" Not exactly ; we are going to have a night operator." 

" Ah !" The darkness hid the smile on my face. 
"That will relieve you a little?" 

" Yes, a little ; but I'm blessed if I understand it. 
Business is unusually light just now. I needed an assist- 
ant more in the Fall and Winter." 

"Indeed," I said, aloud. Then to myself, "But Games 
and I did not need one so much." 

Our agency had done some splendid work for the tele- 
graph company whose wires ran through Trafton ; and I 
knew, before requesting a new operator in the town, that 
they stood ready to oblige my Chief to any extent com- 


patible with their own business. And my Chief had been 
expeditious indeed. 

"Then you look for your night operator by the down 
express?" I questioned, carelessly. 

" Yes ; they wired me that he would come to-night. I hope 
he'll be an obliging fellow, who won't mind taking a day 
turn now and then." 

" I hope so," I replied, "for your sake, Harris." 

We had reached the post-office, and bidding him good 
night, I entered. 

A few tardy Traftouites were there, asking for and re- 
ceiving their mail, but Dimber Joe was not among them. 

I went slowly back to Porter's store, glancing in at 
various windows as I passed, but saw not the missing 

How had he eluded me? Where should I look for 

Returning to the hotel, I sat down in the seat lately oc- 
cupied by the vanished crook, and pondered. 

Was Dimber about to strike ? Had he strolled out thus 
early to reconnoiter his territory ? If so, he would return 
anon to equip himself for the work; he could not well 
carry a burglar's kit in the light suit he wore. 

Suddenly I arose and hurried up the stairs, resolved 
upon a bold measure. 

Hastily unlocking my trunk, I removed a tray, and from 
a skillfully concealed compartment, took a pair of nippers, 


some skeleton keys, and a small tin case, shaped like the 
candle it contained. Next, I removed my hat, coat, and 
boots; and, in another moment, was standing before the 
door of the room occupied by Dimber Joe. I knocked 
lightly and the silence within convinced me that the room 
was unoccupied. 

The Trafton House was not plentifully supplied with 
bolts, as I knew ; and my nippers assured me that there 
was no key in the lock. 

Thus emboldened, I fitted one of the skeleton keys, and 
was soon within the room, making a hasty survey of Dim- 
ber Joe's effects. 

Aided again by my skeleton keys, I hurriedly opened 
and searched the two valises. They were as honest as they 

The first contained a liberal supply of polished linen, a 
water-proof coat and traveling-cap, together with other 
articles of clothing, and two or three novels. The second 
held the clerical black suit worn by Dimber on the evening 
of his arrival in Trafton ; a brace of linen dusters, a few 
articles of the toilet, and a small six-shooter. 

There was nothing else; no concealed jimmy, no "tools" 
of any description. 

It might have been the outfit of a country parson, but 
for (he novels and the revolver. This latter was loaded, 
and, without any actual motive for so doing, I extracted 
the cartridges and put them in my pocket. 


In another moment I was back in my own room, baffled, 
disappointed, and puzzled more than before. 

Sitting there alone, I drew from my pocket the lately re- 
ceived telegram, and surveyed it once more. 

4 . H, c, n, c, e, o, g, k, i, m, b s, i, a . 

Well might Harris have been puzzled. Arrant nonsense 
it must have seemed to him, but to me it was simplicity it- 
self. The dispatch was from Carnes, and it said : 

"He is coming back." 

Simplicity itself, as the reader will see, by comparing the 
letters and the words. 

"He is coming back." This being interpreted, meant, 
" Blake Simpson is now returning to Trafton." 

Was I growing imbecile? . 

Blake Simpson had departed in the daylight, doubtless 
taking the "tools of his trade" with him, hence the in- 
nocent appearance of his partner's room, for partners, I 
felt assured, they were. 

He was returning under cover of the darkness ; Dimber 
had gone out to meet him, and before morning, Trafton 
would be supplied with a fresh sensation. 

How was I to act? How discover their point of attack? 

It yet lacked more than two hours of midnight. Trafton 
had not yet gone to sleep. 

Blake was coming back, but how ? 

My telegram came from a village fifteen miles distant. 

" Thus assured, I fitted oneof the skeleton keys." page 279. 



Blake then must have left the train at that point, and Carnes 
had followed him. He had followed him until assured that 
he was actually returning to Trafton, and then he had sent 
the message. 

Blake might return in two ways. He might hire a con- 
veyance and drive back to Trafton, or he might walk back 
as far as the next station, a distance of five miles, and there 
w r ait for the night express. 

It seemed hardly probable that he would care to court 
notice by presenting himself at an inn or livery stable. He 
would be more apt to walk away from the village, assume 
some light disguise, and return by the train. It would be 
a child's trick for him to drop from the moving train 
as it entered the town, and disappear unnoticed in the 

Carnes might return by that train, also, but we had 
agreed that, unless he was fully convinced that Blake meant 
serious mischief, and that I would need his assistance, he 
was to continue on his journey, as it seemed important that 
he should be in New Orleans as soon as possible. 

After some consideration, I decided that I would attach 
myself to Dimber, should he return, as it seemed likely that 
he would, it being so early. And if he failed to appear, 
I would lie in wait for the night express, and endeavor to 
spot Blake, should he come that way. 

Having thus decided, I resumed my hat, coat and boots, 
extinguished my light, locked my door and went down-stairs. 


The office lamp was burning its brightest, and there un- 
derneath it, tilted back in the only arm-chair the room 
could boast, sat Dimber Joe; his hat hung on a rack be- 
side the door, a fresh cigar was stuck between his lips, and 
he was reading again that brown-covered French novel ! 

I began to feel like a man in a nightmare. Could that 
indolent-looking novel reader be meditating a crime, and 
only waiting for time to bring the hour? 

I went out upon the piazza and fanned myself with my 
hat. I felt discomposed, and almost nervous. At that 
moment I wished devoutly that I could see Games. 

By-and-by my absurd self-distrust passed away, and I 
began to feel once more equal to the occasion. 

Dimber's room was not, like mine, at the end of the build- 
ing. It was a " front room," and its two windows opened 
directly over the porch upon which I stood. 

I had the side door of the office in full view. He could 
not leave the house unseen by me. 

Mr. Holtz came out to talk with me. I complained of 
a headache and declared my intention to remain outside 
until it should have passed away. We conversed for half 
an hour, and then, as the hands of the office clock pointed 
to half-past ten he left me to make his nightly round 
through kitchen, pantries, and dining-room, locking and 
barring the side door of the office before going. And still 
Dimber Joe read on, to all appearances oblivious of time 
and all things else. 


A wooden bench, hard and narrow, ran along tlu wall 
just under the office window, affording a seat for loungers 
when the office should be overfull, and the chairs all occu- 
pied. Upon this I stretched myself, and feigned sleep, for 
a time that seemed interminable. 

Eleven o'clock; eleven loud metalic strokes from the 
office time keeper. 

Dimber Joe lowered the leg that had been elevated, 
elevated the leg that had been lowered, turned a page of his 
novel and read on. The man's coolness was tantalizing. I 
longed to forget my identity as a detective, and his as a 
criminal, and to spring through the window, strike tl. j 
book from his hand, and challenge him to mortal combat, 
with dirks at close quarters, or pistols at ten paces. 

Half-past el even . D imber Joe stretched his limbs, closed 
his book, yawned and arose. Whistling softly, as if not to 
disturb my repose, he took a small lamp from a shelf be- 
hind the office desk, lighted it leisurely and went up-stairs. 

As he entered the room above, a ray of light from his 
window gleamed out across the road. It rested there for, 
perhaps, five minutes and then disappeared. 

Had Dimber Joe closed his novel to retire like an honest 

Ten more long minutes of quiet and silence, and then the 
stillness was broken by a long, shrill shriek, sounding halt 
a mile distant. It was the night express nearing Trafton 


As this sound died upon the air, another greeted my ears; 
the sound of swift feet running heedlessly, hurriedly ; com- 
ing directly toward me from the southward. 

As I rose from my lounging place and stepped to the end 
of the piazza the runner came abreast of me, and the light 
streaming through the office window revealed to me Jim 
Long, hatless, coatless, almost breathless. 

The lamp light fell upon me also, and even as he ran he 
recognized me. 

Halting suddenly, he turned back with a quick ejacula- 
tion, which I did not understand. 

"Long, what has happened?" 

The answer came between short, sharp breaths. 

"Carl Bethel has been shot down at his own door! For 
God's sake go to him ! He is there alone. I must find a 

In another instant he was running townward at full 
speed, and I was flying at an equal pace through the dark 
and silent street toward Dr. Bethel's cottage. 

" Carl Bethel has been shot down at his own door! For God's 
sake go to him! He is there alone. I must find a doctor." page 286. 





As I ran through the silent, dusky street, keeping to the 
road in preference to risking myself, at that pace, over some 
most uncertain " sidewalks," for pavements were unknown 
in Trafton, my thoughts were keeping pace with my heels. 

First they dwelt upon the fact that Jim Long, in making 
his brief, hasty exhortation to me, had forgotten, or chosen 
to ignore, his nasal twang and rustic dialect, and that his 
earnestness and agitation had betrayed a more than ordinary 
interest in Carl Bethel, and a much more than ordinary dis- 
may at the calamity which had befallen him. 

Carl Bethel had been shot down at his own door! 

How came it that Jim Long was near the scene and 
ready for the rescue, at eleven o'clock at night? Who had 
committed the deed? And why? 

Some thoughts come to us like inspirations. Suddenly 
there flashed upon my mind a possible man and a probable 

Blake Simpson was coming back. Contrary to my ex- 
pectations, he had probably entered Trafton on foot, hav- 
ing made the journey by means of some sort of conveyance 
19 *13 


which was now, perhaps, carrying him away from the 
scene of his crime. 

This would explain the singular apathy of Dimber Joe. 
He had walked out earlier in the evening to ascertain that 
the way was clear and the game within reach, or, in other 
words, at home and alone. Then perhaps he had made 
these facts known to his confederate, and after that, his 
part in the plot being accomplished, he had returned to 
the hotel, where he had kept himself conspicuously in sight 
until after the deed was done. Here was a theory for the 
murder ready to hand, and a motive was not wanting. 

Only a week since, some party or parties had committed 
a shameful outrage, and the attempt had been made to 
fasten the crime upon Carl Bethel. Fortunately the 
counter evidence had been sufficient to clear him in the 
eyes of impartial judges. The doctor's courage and popu- 
larity had carried him safely through the danger. His 
enemies had done him little hurt, and had not succeeded 
in driving him from Trafton. Obviously he was in some- 
body's way, and the first attempt having failed, they had 
made a second and more desperate one. 

Here my mental diagnosis of the case came to an end. 
I had reached the gate of the doctor's cottage. 

All was silent as I opened the door and entered the 
sitting-room. A shaded lamp burned softly on the center- 
table, and beside it stood the doctor's easy-chair and foot- 
rest. An open book lay upon the table, as if lately laid 


down by the occupant of the chair, who had put a half- 
filled pipe between the pages, to mark the place where he 
had stopped reading when interrupted by what? 

Thus much I observed at a glance, and then turned 
toward the inner room where, upon the bed, lay Carl 

Was he living or dead ? 

Taking the lamp from the table I carried it to the bed- 
side, and bent to look at the still form lying thereon. The 
loose coat of white linen, and also the vest, had been drawn 
back from the right shoulder; both were blood-stained, 
and the entire shirt front was saturated with blood. 

I put the lamp upon a stand beside the bed, and ex- 
amined closer. The hands were not yet cold with the 
chill of death, the breath came feebly from between the 
parted lips. 

What should I do ? 

. As I glanced about the room while asking myself this 
helpless question, there came a step upon the gravel outside, 
quick, light, firm. Then the door opened, and Louise 
Barnard stood before me. 

Shall I ever forget that woful face, white as the face 
ot death, rigid with the calmness of despair? Shall I ever 
banish from my memory those great dark eyes, too full of 
anguish for tears? It was another mental picture of 
Louise Barnard never to be forgotten. 
" Carl, Carl !" 


She was on her knees at the bedside clasping the limp 
hand between her own, bowing her white face until it rested 
upon his. 

"Carl, Carl! speak to me !" 

But there was no word of tenderness in answer to her 
pitiful appeal, no returning pressure from the still hand, 
and she buried her head in the pillows, uttering a low moan 
of despair. 

In the presence of one weaker than myseK, my own help- 
lessness forsook me. I approached the girl who knelt 
there believing her lover dead, and touched her shoulder 

"Miss Barnard, we have no time now for grief. He is 
not dead." 

She was on her feet in an instant. 

"Not dead ! Then he must not die!" 

A red flush mounted to her cheek, a new light leaped to 
her eye. She waited to ask or give no explanation, but 
turned once more and laid her hand upon the blood-ensan- 
guined garments. 

"Ah, we must waste no more time. Can you cut away 
this clothing?" 

I nodded and she sprang from the room. I heard 
a clicking of steel and the sound of opening drawers, then 
she was back with a pair of sharp scissors in her hand. 

" Use these," she said, taking command as a matter of 
course, and flitting out again, leaving me to do my work, 

" Carl, Carl ! speak to me !" page 292. 



and as I worked, I marveled at and admired her wonderful 
presence of mind her splendid self-control. 

In a moment I knew, by the crack of a parlor match 
and a responsive flash of steady light, that she had found 
a lamp and lighted it. 

There were the sounds of another search, and then she 
was back again with restoratives and some pieces of 

Glancing down at the bed she uttered a sharp exclama- 
tion, and all the blood fled out of her face. I had just laid 
bare a ghastly wound in the right shoulder, and danger- 
ously near the lung. 

It was with a mighty effort that she regained her self- 
control. Then she put down the things she held, and said, 
quite gently : 

" Please chafe his hands and temples, and afterward try 
the restoratives. There is a fluid heater out there. I must 
have warm water before " 

" Long has gone for a doctor," I interrupted, thinking 
her possibly ignorant of this fact. 

" I know ; we must have everything ready for him." 

She went out and I bega*n my work of restoration. 

After some time passed in the outer room, she came 
back to the bedside and assisted me in my task. 

After a little, a faint sigh and a feeble fluttering of the 
eyelids assured us that we were not thus active in vain. 
The girl caught her breath, and while she renewed her 


efforts at restoration I saw that she was fast losing her self- 

And now we heard low voices and hurrying footsteps. 

It was the doctor at last. 

Excepting Bethel, Dr. Hess was the youngest practitioner 
in Trafton. He was a bachelor, and slept at his office, a 
fact which Jim took into account in calling for him, instead 
of waking up old Dr. Baumbach, who lived at the extreme 
north of the village. 

Dr. Hess looked very grave, and Jim exceedingly anxious, 
as the two bent together over the patient. 

After a brief examination, Dr. Hess said: 

"I must get at Bethel's instruments. I know he keeps 
them here, so did not stop to fetch mine." 

"They are all ready." 

He turned in surprise. Miss Barnard had drawn back 
at his entrance, and he was now, for the first time, aware 
of her presence. 

" I knew what was required," she said, in answer to his 
look of surprise. "They are ready for you." 

The doctor moved toward the outer room. 

"I must have some tepid water," he said. 

" That, too, is ready. I shall assist you, Dr. Hess." 


"Yes, I. I know something about the instruments. I 
have helped my father more than once." 



"There need be no objection. I am belter qualified than 
either of these gentlemen." 

He looked at me, still hesitating. 

"I think you can trust the lady," I said; "she has 
proved her capability." 

"Very well, Miss Barnard," said the doctor, more 
graciously ; "it may try your nerves ;" and, taking up some 
instruments, he turned toward the inner room. 

"I shall be equal to it," she replied, as, gathering up 
some lint, and going across the room for a part of the 
water, fast heating over the fluid lamp, she followed him. 

" Doctor, can't we do something ?" asked Jim Long. 

"Nothing at present." 

How still it was! Jim Long stood near the center of 
the room, panting heavily, and looking down at a dark 
stain in the carpet, a splash of human blood that marked 
the place where Bethel had fallen under the fire of the as- 
sassin. His face was flushed, and its expression fiercely 
gloomy. His hands were clenched nervously, his eye 
riveted to that spot upon the carpet, his lips moved from 
time to time, as if framing anathemas against the would-be 

After a time, I ventured, in a low tone: 

"Long, you are breathing like a spent racer. . Sit down. 
You may need your breath before long." 

He turned, silently opened the outer door, making 
scarcely a sound, and went out into the night. 


That was a long half hour which I passed, sitting beside 
the little table with that splash of blood directly before my 
eyes, hearing no sound save an occasional rustle from the inner 
room, and now and then a low word spoken by Dr. Hess. 

To think to the purpose seemed impossible, in that still- 
ness where life and death stood face to face. I could only 
wait; anxiously, impatiently, fearing the worst. 

At last it was over ; and Jim, who evidently, though 
out of sight, had not been out of hearing, came in to listen 
to the verdict of Dr. Hess. 

"It was a dangerous wound," he said, "and the patient 
was in a critical condition. He might recover, with good 
nursing, but the chances were much against him." 

A spasm of pain crossed Louise Barnard's face, and I 
saw her clench her small hand in a fierce effort to maintain 
her self-control. Then she said, quite calmly: 

" In his present condition, will he not require the con- 
stant attention of a surgeon ?" 

Dr. Hess bowed his head. 


"Hemorrhage is likely to occur," he said. "He might 
need surgical aid at a moment's notice." 

"Then, Dr. Hess, would you object to our calling for 
counsel for an assistant ?" 

He elevated his eyebrows, more in surprise at the pro- 
noun, I thought, than at the suggestion, or request. 

" I think it might be well to have Dr. Baumbach in to- 
morrow," he replied. 


"I was not thinking of Dr. Baumbach," she said. "I 
wish to send to New York for a doctor who is a relative 
of Mr. Bethel's. I know it is what he would wish." 

Dr. Hess glanced from her face to mine and remained 

" AVhen my father was sick/' she went on, now looking 
appeal! ugly from the doctor's face to mine, and then over 
my shoulder at Jim, who had remained near the door, 
"Dr. Bethel said that if he had any doubts as to his case, 
he should telegraph at once for Dr. Denham, and he added 
that he knew of no surgeon more skillful." 

Still no answer from Dr. Hess. 

Jim Long came forward with a touch of his old impa- 
tience and accustomed quaintness in his words and manner. 

"I'm in favor of the city doctor," he said, looking, not 
at Dr. Hess, but straight into my face. "And I'm en- 
titled to a voice in the matter. The patient's mine by 
right of discovery." 

Miss Barnard gave him a quick glance of gratitude, and 
I rallied from the surprise occasioned by the mention of 
"our old woman," to say: 

" I think you said that this gentleman is a relative of 
Dr. Bethel's; if so, he should be sent for by all means." 

"He is Dr. Bethel's uncle," said Miss Barnard. 

"Then," I repeated, with decision, "as a relative he should 
be sent for at once." 

"Most certainly," acquiesced Dr. Hess, who now saw 


the matter in, to him, a more favorable light. " Send for 
him; the sooner the better." 

" Oh," breathed the anxious girl, "I wish it could be 
done at once." 

" It can," I said, taking my hat from the table as I spoke. 
" Fortunately there is a new night operator at the station ; 
he came to-night, or was expected. If he is there, we shall 
save time, if not, we must get Harris up." 

" Oh, thank you." 

Dr. Hess went to take a look at his patient, and came 
back, saying : 

"I will remain here until morning, I think." 

"And I will come back as soon as possible," I responded, 
turning to go. 

Jim Long caught up his hat from the floor, where he 
had flung it on entering. 

"I reckon I had better go along with you," he said, sud- 
denly assuming his habitual drawl ; "you may have to 
rout Harris up, and I know right where to find him." 

I was anxious to go, for a reason of my own, and I was 
not sorry to have Jim's company. " Now, if ever," I 
thought, "is the time to fathom 'the true inwardness' of 

o * 

this strange man." 

We waited for no more words, but set out at once, walk- 
ing briskly through the night that seemed doubly dark, 
doubly silent and mysterious, at the witch's hour of one 




We had walked half the distance to the station, in per- 
fect silence, and I was studying the best way to approach 
Jim and overcome his reticence, when suddenly he opened 
his lips, to give me a glimpse of his "true inwardness," 
that nearly took me, figuratively, oif my feet. 

" Men are only men, after all," he began, sententiously, 
"and detectives are only common men sharpened up a bit. 
I wonder, now, how you are going to get the address of this 
Dr. Denham?" 

I started so violently, that he must have perceived it, 
dark though it was. 

What a blunder! I had walked away from the cottage 
forgetting to ask for Dr. Denham's address. 

Uttering an exclamation of impatience, I turned sharply 

"What are you going to do?" he asked. 

"I'm going back after the address, of course." 

" I wouldn't do that ; time's precious. Do you go ahead 
and send the message. I'll run back and ask after the ad- 

" Long," I said, sharply, " what do you mean ?" 

"I mean this," he replied, his tone changing suddenly. 
" I mean that it's time for you and I to understand each 




"It is time for you aud I to understand each other. 
Don't stop there looking moon-struck ! Go ahead, and 
don't waste time. I'll run back and ask for the address. 
Miss Barnard, if she scented a secret, might be trusted with 
it. But, Dr. Hess his brain has not kept pace with the 
steps of the universe." 

With these remarkable words, Jim Long lowered his 
head, compressed his elbows after the fashion of a profes- 
sional prize-runner, and was off like a flying shadow, while 
I stood staring after him through the darkness, divided 
betwixt wonder at his strange words and manner, and dis- 
gust at my own stupidity. 

What did he mean? Had he actually discovered my 
identity? And, if so, how?" 

While waiting for a solution to these riddles, it would be 
well to profit by Jim's advice. So I turned my face to- 
ward the village, and hurried forward. 

As I approached the station, a bright light from the 
operator's window assured me that I should not find the 
office empty, and coming stealthily toward it, I peered in, 


to see, seated in the most commodious office chair, Gerald 
Brown, of our agency, the expected "night operator." 

On a lounge opposite the window, lay Charlie Harris 

I tipped softly on the open casement, and keeping my- 
self in the shadow whispered: 

"Come outside, Gerry, and don't wake Harris." 

The night-operator, who knew the nature of the services 
required of him in Trafton, and who doubtless had been ex- 
pecting a visit, arose quietly and came out on the platform 
with the stealthy tread of a bushman. 

After a cordial hand-clasp, and a very few words of 
mutual inquiry, I told Brown what had happened at the 
doctor's cottage, and of my suspicions regarding Blake 
Simpson; and, then, using a leaf from my note-book, and 
writing by the light from the window, I wrote two mes- 
sages, to be sent before Harris should awake. 

The first was as follows : 


No. 300 street, N. Y. 

Carl Bethel is in extreme danger; requires your professional ser- 
vices. Come at once. BATHXJRST. 

The second was addressed to our office, and was much 
longer. It ran thus : 

CAPT. B., A , K Y. 

Murder was attempted last night ; Bethel the victim. See that 
Denham comes by the first train to attend to him. Give him some 


hiu Is before starting. Look out for B. S. If he returns to the city 
iu the morning, keep him shadowed. Will write particulars. 


"There," I said, as I passed them to Brown, "send 
them as soon as you can, Gerry. The doctor will hardly 
receive his before morning, but the other will be delivered 
at once, and then they can hurry up the " old woman." 
As for Blake, he will probably take the morning train, if 
he returns to the city, so they have ample time to prepare 
for him. Did you see Games on the express?" 

"Yes; but only had a moment's speech with him. He 
told me to tell you that Blake left the train at Ireton, 
and that he went straight to a sort of feed stable, kept by 
a man named Brigg.s " 

"Briggs!" I exclaimed, involuntarily. 

" Yes, that was the name. At this stable he was fur- 
nished with a good team and light buggy, and he drove 
straight south." 

"Ah! he did. But my time is not at my disposal just 
now, Gerry ; I have a companion somewhere on the road. 
I suppose you got the bearings of this Trafton business at 
the Agency?" 

"Yes; I think I am pretty well posted. I have read 
all your reports." 

" So much the better. Gerry, you had better take up 
your quarters at the Trafton House. I am stopping there. 
It will be convenient, for more than one reason." 


Gerry agreed with me in this, and, as at that moment we 
heard footsteps approaching, which I rightly guessed to be 
those of Jim Long, we separated at once, and I went for- 
ward to meet Jim. 

Before, I had deemed it necessary to press the siege, and 
lead Jim to talk by beginning the attack in a voluble 
manner. Now, I was equally intent upon holding my 
own forces in reserve, and letting him open the engage- 
ment, which, after a few moments' silence, he did. 

A few rods away from the depot stood a church, with 
broad, high steps leading up from the street, and a deep, 
old-fashioned portico. 

Here Jim came to an abrupt halt, for we had turned our 
steps southward, and said, with more of courtesy in his 
voice than might have been expected, considering his re- 
cent abruptness : 

" Let us go up there, and sit under the porch. It's 
safer than to talk while walking, and I fancy you would 
like me to explain myself." 

I followed him in silence up the steps, and sat down 
beside him on the portico. 

"I wonder," began Jim, lowering his voice to insure 
himself against possible eavesdroppers, "I wonder why 
you have not asked me, before this time, how it happened 
that I was the first to discover Bethel's condition, or, at 
any rate, the first to give the alarm." 

" There has scarcely been time," I replied, guardedly. 


"Besides I, being so nearly a stranger, thought that a 
question to be more properly asked by Miss Barnard or 
the doctor." 

"You are modest," said Jim, with a short laugh. 
"Probably it will not occur to Miss Barnard to ask that 
question, until her mind is more at ease concerning Bethel's 
condition. As for Dr. Hess, he had asked it before he 
took off his nightcap." 

"And did you answer it," asked I, maliciously, "in the 
same good English you are addressing to me?" 

" I hope not," he replied, laughing again. " I told him 
the truth, however, in a very few words, and now I will 
tell it to you. Last night I suppose it is morning now 
by the clock I spent the evening in the village, princi- 
pally about the Trafton House. I presume you are AVOII- 
dering how it came that you did not see me there, for I 
happen to know that you spent the entire evening in tlu> 
office or on the porch. Well, the fact is, I was there on a 
little private business, and did not make myself very con- 
spicuous for that reason. It was late when I came home, 
and, on looking about the cabin, I discovered that my gun 
was missing. My door, for various reasons, I always leave 
unlocked when absent, so I did not waste any time in won- 
dering how the thief got in. I missed nothing else, and, 
after a little, I went outside to smoke, and think the mat- 
ter over. I had not been out many minutes before I heard 
the report of a gun, my gun, I could have sworn. It 


sounded in the direction of Bethel's cottage, and I was not 
many minutes in getting there. I found the door open, 
and Bethel lying across the threshold, wounded, as you 
have seen. He was almost unconscious then, but as I bent 
above him he whispered one word, ' Louise.' I could not 
leave him lying there in the doorway, so I lifted him and 
carried him to the bed, and then, seeing that it was a 
shoulder wound, and that he still breathed, I rushed off, 
stopping to tell Louise Barnard that her lover was wounded 
and, maybe, dying, and then on again until I saw you, the 
very man whose help I wanted." 

"And why my help rather than that of another?" 

" Because, next to that of a physician, the presence of a 
detective seemed most necessary." 

"Long," I said, turning upon him sharply, "this is the 
second time you have referred to me as ' a detective.' Will 
you be good enough to explain ?" 

" I have spoken of you as a detective," he replied, gravely, 
"because I believe you to be one, and have so believed since 
the day you came to Trafton. To explain in full would 
be to occupy more time than you or I can well spare to 
story telling. I have watched you since you first came to 
this place, curiously at first, then earnestly, then anxiously. 
I believe you are here to ferret out the authors of the many 
robberies that have happened in and about Trafton. If 
this is so, then there isnoone more anxious to help you,orwho 
could have a stronger motive for so doing, than Jim Long." 


He paused for a moment, but I remained silent, and he 
began anew. 

" I think you are interested in Bethel and his misfortunes. 
I think you know him for the victim of those who believe 
him to be what you really are." 

"You think there are those who fear Bethel because 
they believe him to be a detective ? Is that your meaning?'' 

"That is my meaning." 

"Long," I said, seriously, "you tell me that your gun 
was stolen last night; that you recognized the sound of the 
report coming from the direction of Bethel's house." 

He moved closer to me and laid a hand on my shoulder. 

"It was my gun that shot Bethel," he said, solemnly. 
" To-morrow that gun will be found and 7 shall be accused 
of the crime. If the devils had possessed my knowledge, 
it would have been you, instead of Carl Bethel, lying some- 
where now, dying or dead. I say these things to you to- 
night because, if my gun is found, as I anticipate, and I 
am accused of the shooting, I may not be able to serve Carl 
Bethel, and he is n.ot yet out of danger. If he lives he will 
still be a target for his enemies." 

He spoke with suppressed emotion, and my own feel- 
ings were stirred as I replied : 

" Long, you have been a mystery to me from the first, 
and I do not read your riddle even now, but I believe you 
are a man to be trusted. Give me your hand, and depend 
upon it you shall not rest long under a false accusation. 


Carl Bethel, liviDg, shall not want a friend; Carl Bethel, 
dead, shall have an avenger. As for you, and myself " 

"We shall understand each other better," he broke in, 
" when the time comes for me to tell you my own story 
in my own way." 

"Then," I said, "let us go back to Bethel. I want to 
take a look about the premises by the first streak of day- 

"Ah!" ejaculated Jim, "that is what I wanted to hear 
you say." 




During the night there was little change in Bethel's con- 

O o o 

dition, and in the gray of dawn Miss Barnard went reluc- 
tantly home, having been assured by the doctor that the 
patient was in no immediate danger, and, by Jim and my- 
self, converted to the belief that he might be safely trusted 
for a short time to our care." 

A little later, with the first clear light of the dawn, I left 
Jim on guard at the bedside, and went to take a survey of 
the premises. 

I was not long in convincing myself that there was little 
to be discovered outside, and returning to the house seated 
myself in Bethel's easy-chair. 

"Lon^," I caLed softly, somehow since last night 
I could not bring myself to use the familiar "Jim," as of 

He came from the inner room looking a mute in- 

"Long, you had ought to know something about your 
own gun; was that wound of Bethel's made at long or 
short range?" 


He looked surprised at first, then a gleam of intelligence 
leaped to his eyes. 

"What do you mean by short range?" he asked. 

"Suppose Bethel to have stood on the steps outside, was 
the gun fired from behind that evergreen just beyond, and 
close to the gravel walk, or from some other point equally 

He opened the door and glanced out at the tree, seeming 
to measure the distance with his eye. 

"It was further away," he said, after a moment's reflec- 
tion. " If the scoundrel had stood as you suggest, the inuz- 
zle of the gun would have been almost at Bethel's breast. 
The powder would have scorched his clothing and his 

" Do you think it may have been fired from the gate, or 
a few feet beyond it?" 

"Judging by the appearance of the wound, I should say 
it must have been from a little beyond the gate." 

" I think so too," I said. " I think some one drove to 
the gate last night with a light buggy, and two small horses. 
Pie or they drove quite close to the fence and stopped the 
horses, so that they were hidden from the view of any one 
who was nearer the house. The buggy was directly before 
the gate and so close that it could not have been opened, as 
it swings outward. The horses were not tied, but they were 
doubtless well trained animals. A man jumped out of the 
buggy, and, standing beside it, on the side farthest from 


the gate, of course, leveled your gun across the vehicle and 
called aloud for the doctor. Bethel was alone, sitting in 
this chair by this table. His feet were on this footstool/' 
touching each article as I named it. " He was smoking this 
pipe, and reading this book. The window was open, and 
the blinds only half closed. The man, who probably drove 
close to the fence for that purpose, could see him quite 
distinctly, and from his attitude and occupation knew him 
to be alone. 

"When Bethel heard the call, he put down the book and 
pipe with cool deliberation, pushed back the footstool and 
opened the door, coming from the light to the darkness. 
At that moment he could see nothing, and leaving the door 
open he stepped outside, standing clearly outlined in the 
light from within. Then the assassin fired." 

Jim Long came toward me, his eyes earnestly searching 
my face. 

" In Heaven's name, what foundation have you for such 
a theory," he asked, slowly. 

" Excellent foundation," I replied. " Let us demonstrate 
my theory." 

Long glanced at his charge in the inner room, and then 
said, " go on." 

"Suppose me to be Bethel," I said, leaning back in the 
big chair. "That window is now just as it was last night, 
I take it?" 

"Just the same." 

"When Bethel heard the call, he put down the book and pipe 
with cool deliberation, pushed back the footstool and opened the 
door," page 312. 

*14 313 


" "Well, if you choose to go outside and walk beside the 
fence, you will be able to decide whether I could be seen 
as I have stated." 

He hesitated a moment, and then said : 

"Wait; I'll try it;" and opened the door. 

"Long," I whispered, as he passed out, "keep this side 
of the fence." 


He was back in a moment. 

"I can see you plainly," he said. 

" And, of course, with a light within and darkness out- 
side you could see me still more plainly." 

"I suppose so," he assented. 

"Now for the second test. I hear my name called, I 
lay aside my book and meerschaum, push back my foot- 
rest, and go to the door. I can see nothing as I open it," 
I was suiting the action to the word, " so I fling it wide 
open, and step outside. Now, Long, that spot of blood 
tells me just about the location of Bethel's head when you 
discovered him. Will you point out the spot where his 
feet rested?" 

Long considered a moment and then laid two fingers on 
the step. 

" There, as nearly as I can remember," he said. 

I planted my own feet on the spot indicated by 

" Now, please go to the gate. Go outside of it. There 


are some bits of paper scattered about ; do not step whera 
you see any of these." 

He obeyed my directions, striding over and around the 
marked places. 

"Now," I called, retaining my position on the door-step, 
" step about four feet from the gate, and from that dis- 
tance how must you stand to take aim at me, on this spot?" 

He shifted his position a trifle, went through the motion 
of taking aim, looking down at his feet, then dropped his 
arms, and said : 

" I can't do it ; to aim at you there, I would have to 
stand just where you have left some bits of paper. In any 
other position the bushes obstruct the sight." 

I came down to the gate and swung it open. 

" Just what I wanted to establish. Now for the next 
test," I said. " Mark me, Long; do you see those bits of 
paper along the fence ? Go and look at the ground, where 
they lie, and you will see the faint impression of a wheel. 
Just before the gate where the vehicle stood for a moment, 
the print is deeper, and more easily noticed. I said that 
the gun was fired across the buggy; you have convinced 
yourself that aim could be taken from only one position, 
at this distance. The man must stand where those bits of 
paper are scattered. Now, look;" I bent down and 
gathered up the fragments of paper ; " look close. Here 
is a fine, free imprint from the heel of a heavy boot. As 
there is but one, and that so marked, it is reasonable to 


suppose that the assassin rested one foot upon the buggy 
wheel, thus throwing his weight upon this heel." 

Long bent to examine the print and then lifted his head 
to ejaculate : 

" It is wonderful !" 

"It is simplicity itself," I replied ; "the a, b, c of the 
detective's alphabet. I said there were two horses ; look, 
here is where one of them scraped the fence with his teeth, 
and here the other has snatched a mouthful of leaves from 
the doctor's young shade tree. Here, too, are some faint, 
imperfect hoof-prints, but they are enough to tell us, from 
their position, that there were two horses, and from their 
size, that the animals were pretty small." 

Long examined the different marks with eager attention, 
and then stood gazing fixedly at me, while I gathered up 
my bits of paper. 

" I shall not try to preserve these as evidence in the 
case," I said. " I think we shall do very well without 
them. They were marked for your benefit, solely. Are 
you convinced?" 

" Convinced ! Yes, convinced and satisfied that you are 
the man for this business." 

We returned to the house, each intent on his own 

The sun was rising in a cloudless sky. It would not be 
long before curious visitors would be thronging the cottage. 
After a time I went to the door of the room where Jim had 
resumed his watch. 


"Long," I asked, in a low tone, "do you know any 
person in Ireton?" 

He shook his head. 

" Do you know whether this fellow Tom Briggs has any 
relatives about Trafton?" 

He pondered a moment. 

"Yes," he said, finally. "He has a brother somewhere 
in the neighborhood. I dont know just where. He comes 
to Trafton occasionally." 

"What is he like?" 

"He is not unlike Tom, but goes rather better dressed." 

"Do you know his occupation?" 

"A sort of horse-trading character, I think." 

I considered for a time, and then resumed :v.y catechism. 

"Among the farmers whose horses have been stolen, do 
you know one who is thoroughly shrewd, cautious and re- 

"I think so," after a moment's reflection. "I think 
Mr. Warren is such a man." 

" Where can he be found ?" 

"He lives five miles northwest of Trafton." 

" If you wished to organize a small band of regulators, say 
six or eight, where could you find the right men, and how 

" I should look for them among the farmers. I think 
they could be organized, for the right purpose, in half a 
day's ride about the country." 


As my lips parted to launch another question, the outer 
door opened slowly and almost noiselessly, and Louise Bar- 
nard brushed past me and hurried to the bedside. 

" .Miss Barnard" 

" Don't lecture me, please," she said, hurriedly. " Mamma 
is better and could spare me, and I could not sleep. I 
have taken a cordial, and some food. You must let me 
stay on guard until Dr. Denham arrives. I will resign 
my post to him." 

"Which means that you will not trust to us. You are 
a ' willful woman,' Miss Barnard, and your word is our law, 
of course. There is actually nothing to do here just now 
but to sit at the bedside and watch our patient. And so, 
if you will occupy that post, Long and myself will take a 
look at things out of doors." 

She took her seat by the bedside, and, beckoning Jim to 
follow me, I went out, and, turning to see that he was close 
behind me, walked to the rear of the house. 

Here we seated ourselves upon the well platform, where 
Jim had once before stationed himself to watch the pro- 
ceedings of the raiding party, and for a full half-hour re- 
mained in earnest consultation. 

At the end of that time, Jim Long saddled and bridled 
the doctor's horse, led him softly from the yard, mounted, 
and rode swiftly away to the northwest. 




Very soon after Jim's departure, the first visitors arrived 
at the cottage, and most welcome ones they were. 

Miss Barnard, who seemed capable of wise thought in 
the midst of her grief and anxiety, had dispatched her own 
servant with a message to Mr. Harris, and, early as was 
the hour, that good man had hastened to the cottage, with 
his wife at his side. Their presence w r as comforting to Miss 
Barnard and myself. Mr. Harris was the right man to as- 
sume responsibilities, which I, for various reasons, had no 
desire to take upon myself, and Mrs. Harris was the very 
companion and assistant needed by the anxious girl. They 
were soon in possession of all the facts, as we knew them, 
concerning the previous night, and its calamity. 

I say, as we knew them; Miss Barnard had heard noth- 
ing concerning the part Jim's gun was believed to have 
played in the sad affair, and I did not think it necessary to 
enlighten either her or Mr. Harris on that subject, at that 

Leaving Bethel in such good hands, I went back to the 
hotel. But before I could breakfast or rest, I was called 


upon to repeat again and again all that I could or would 
tell concerning this new calamity that had befallen Dr. 
Bethel, for the news of the night was there before me. 

As I re-entered the office, after quitting the breakfast 
table, I found a considerable crowd assembled, and was 
again called upon to rehearse my story. 

" It looks sorter queerish to me," commented a hook- 
nosed old Traftonite, who had listened very intently to my 
words. "It's sorter queerish! Why warn't folks told of 
this sooner? Why warn't the alarm given, so'at citizens 
could agone and seen for theirselves how things was?" 

I recognized the speaker as one who had been boister- 
ously and vindictively active on the day of the raid upon 
Bethel's cottage, and I fixed my eye upon his face with a 
look which he seemed to comprehend, as I retorted: 

" Dr. Bethel has received one visit from a delegation of 
'citizens who were desirous to see for theirselves how things 
was,' and if he suffered no harm from it, it was not owing 
to the tender mercies of the 'citizens' aforesaid. The at- 
tendance of a mob last night would not have benefited 
Bethel. What he needed was a doctor and good nursing. 
These he had and will have," and I turned upon my heel 
to leave the room. 

" I should say," spoke up another voice, " that there was 
a detective needed around there, too." 

" Nothing shall be lacking that is needed," I retorted, 
over my shoulder, and then ascended the stairs, wishing 



heartily, as I entered my room, that Trafton and a large 
majority of its inhabitants were safely buried under an 
Alpine avalanche. 

Two hours later I awoke, and being in a more amiable 
mood, felt less inclined to consign all Trafton to annihila- 

Going below I found the office comparatively quiet, and 
Dimber Joe and the new operator socially conversing on 
the porch. 

Gerald's presence was a relief to me. I felt sure that he 
would keep a sharp eye upon the movements of Dimber, 
and, being anxious about the situation of Bethel I returned 
to the cottage. 

Dr. Hess stood in the door-way, in conversation with 
Mr. Harris. 

"How is the patient?" asked I, approaching them. 

"Much the same," replied the doctor. "But there will 
be a change soon." 

"Has he spoken?" 

" No ; he will hardly do that yet, and should not be al- 
lowed to talk even if he could. When the change comes 
there will be fever, and perhaps delirium." 

I passed them and entered the sick-room. 

Mrs. Harris sat by the bed. Louise Barnard was not 

"We have sent Louise home," Mrs. Harris whispered, 
seeing me glance about inquiringly. "The doctor told her 


that if she insisted upon remaining she would soon be sick 
herself, and unable to help us at all. That frightened her 
a little. The poor child is really worn out, with her 
father's sickness and death, her mother's poor health, and 
now this," nodding toward the bed. 

"Have you had any visitors?" 

"Oh, yes. But we knew that the house must be kept 
quiet, and Mr. Harris has received the most of them out 
in the yard. Dr. Hess says it will be best to admit none 
but personal friends." 

"Dr. Hess is very sensible." 

Going back to join the two gentlemen, I saw that Dr. 
Hess was hastening toward the gate with considerable 
alacrity, and that a pony phaeton had just halted there. 

Swinging the gate wide open, the doctor assisted the oc- 
cupant to alight. 

It was Miss Manvers. 

There was an anxious look upon her face, and in her 
eyes a shadow of what I had once discovered there, when, 
myself unseen, I had witnessed her interview with Arch 
Brookhouse on the day of the garden party. She was pale, 
and exceedingly nervous. 

She said very little. Indeed her strongest effort to pre- 
serve her self-control seemed almost a failure, and was very 
evident to each of us. She listened with set lips to the 
doctor's description and opinion of the case, and then 
entered the inner room, and stood looking down at the 


figure lying there, so stalwart, yet so helpless. For a mo- 
ment her features were convulsed, and her hands clenched 
each other fiercely. Her form was shaken with emotion 
so strong as to almost overmaster her. It was a splendid 
picture of fierce passion held in check by an iron will. 

She came out presently, and approached me. 

"You were one of the first to know this, I am told," 
she said, in a low, constrained tone. "Please tell me 
about it." 

I told her how I was called to the rescue by Jim, and 
gave a brief outline of after events. 

" And has all been done that can be ?" she asked, after 
a moment of silence. 

" Not quite all, Miss Manvers. We have yet to find 
this would-be murderer and bring him to justice." I spoke 
with my eyes fixed on her face. 

She started, flushed, and a new excited eagerness leaped 
to her eyes. 

" Will you do that ? Can you ?" 

" It shall be done," I replied, still watching her face. 

She gave a little fluttering sigh, drew her veil across her 
arm, and turned to go. 

" If I can be of service, in any way," she began, hesi- 

" We shall not hesitate to ask for your services," 1 in- 
terrupted, walking beside her to the door, and from thenj|? 
to the gate, a little to the annoyance of Dr. Hess, I fancied. 


As I assisted her to her seat in the phaeton, and put the 
reins in her hands, I saw Arch Brookhouse galloping rap- 
idly from the direction of town. And, just as she had 
turned her ponies homeward, and I paused at the gate to 
nod a final good-bye, he reined his horse up sharply beside 
her vehicle. 

"How is the doctor, Adele?" he asked, in a tone evi- 
dently meant for my ears. 

" Don't speak to me," she replied, vehemently, and ut- 
terly regardless of my proximity. " Don't speak to me. 
I wish it were you in his place." , 

She snatched up her whip, as though her first instinct 
was to draw the lash across his face, but she struck the 
ponies instead, and they flew up the hill at a reckless gait. 

As Brookhouse turned in the saddle to look after the 
flying phaeton, I saw a dark frown cross his face. 

But the next instant his brow cleared, and he turned 
again to bestow on me a look of sharp scrutiny. 

Springing from his horse, and throwing the bridle across 
his arm, he approached the gate. 

"Did you hear her?" he exclaimed. "That is what I 
get for being an amiable fellow. My friend is not amiable 

" Evidently not," I responded, carelessly. " Lovers' 
quarrels are fierce affairs, but very fleeting." 

He smiled and shrugged his shoulders. 

" I have been so unfortunate as to offend her," he said. 


" By to-morrow she will have forgotten the circumstances." 

" Will she, indeed ?" thought I. " We shall see, my 

But I made no audible comment, and he dismissed the 
subject to ask the stereotyped questions, " How was Dr. 
Bethel? Could he be of any service? How did it 

While I was answering these questions with the best 
grace I could muster, there came the patter of horse's 
hoofs, and Jim Long rode up to the side gate, dismounted 
with a careless swing, nodded to me, and, opening the gate, 
led the doctor's horse stableward. 

The look of surprise on my companion's face was in- 
stantly followed by a malicious smile, which, in its turn, 
was banished to give place to a more proper expression. 

" Long has been giving the doctor's horse some exercise," 
he said, half inquiringly. 

" I believe he has been executing some commission for 
Miss Barnard," I fabricated, unblushingly. " Long has 
been very useful here." 

" Indeed," carelessly ; then glancing at his watch, " nearly 
noon, I see." 

He turned, vaulted into his saddle, and touched his hat. 
"Good-morning. In case of necessity, command me;" 
and with a second application of his finger-tip to the brim 
of his hat, he shook the reins and cantered away. 

As soon as he was out of sight I went straight to the 


stable where Jim was bountifully feeding the tired horse. 

"Well, Long?" 

" It's all right, captain. I've had a hard ride, but it's 

"And the men?" 

" Will be at the cabin to-night." 




Upon Jim's reappearance in the cottage, Mrs. Harris in- 
stalled him as nurse, and, herself, set about improvising a 
kitchen in the rear room. 

Mr. Harris had been despatched to town for sundry 
articles, and, at noon, we were served with a plentiful lunch, 
of which we partook in rather primitive fashion. 

Not long after, while Jim and I were conversing out 
under the trees, and Mr. Harris was discoursing to two 
Trafton ladies who had called to proffer service and sym- 
pathy, I saw Gerald Brown coming toward the cottage, 
and guessing that his real business was with me, whatever 
pretext he might present, I advanced to the gate and met 
him there. 

He carried in his hand a telegraph envelope, which he 
proffered me ostentatiously over the gate. 

I opened it and read : 

N. Y., etc., etc. 

Will come to-night. DENHAM. 

Underneath this was written : 

They are wild in town; are about to arrest Jim Long for the shoot- 
ing of Bethd. 


Two pair of eyes, at least, were looking out from the 
cottage door and window. 

I turned the message over, and resting it upon the gate 
post, wrote the following : 

Don't lose sight of Dimber; telegraph to the Agency to ask if Blake 
h/is arrived. Tell them not to let him get out of reach. We may want 
him at any moment. 

While I was writing this Gerry shifted his position, so 
that his face could not be seen by the observers in the house, 
and said : 

"Dimber is in it. He claims to have seen Lonjr with 


his gun near Bethel's house last night. The gun has been 

"Of course," I returned. "We will put a muzzle on 
friend Dimber very shortly." 

I refolded the message and returned it to Gerry, who 
touched his hat and turned back toward the village. 

Going to the door of the cottage, I informed Mr. Harris 
and the ladies that the new operator had just brought the 
news we so much wished for, viz. : the coming of Bethel's 
uncle from New York by that night's express. Then, 
sauntering back to my old place under the trees, I com- 
municated to Jim the purport of the postscript written by 

He listened attentively, but with no sign of discompos- 
ure visible upon his countenance. 

"I've had time to think the matter over," he said, after 


a moment's silence, "and I think I shall pull through, but," 
with a waggish twinkle in his eye, "I am puzzled to know 
why that young man going up the hill should take so much 
interest in me, or was it Harris?" 

" It was not Harris," returning his look with interest. 
"That young man going up the hill is Gerald Brown, of 
New York. He's the new night operator, and he will not 
fail to do his duty, in the office and out of it." 

"Ah!" ejaculated Jim, turning his eyes once more to- 
ward the receding form of Gerry. 

I let my o\vn gaze follow his and there, just coming into 
sight on the brow of the hill, was a party of men. 

It consisted of the constable, supported by several able- 
bodied citizens, and followed, of course, by a promiscuous 

Jim gave vent to a low chuckle. 

"See the idiots," he said, "coming like mountain ban- 
dits. No doubt they look for fierce resistance. Don't 
let them think you are too much interested in the case." 

"I won't," I said, briefly, for the men were hurrying 
down the hill. " It would not be politic, but I'll have 
you out of their clutches, Long, without a scratch, sure 
and soon." 

I turned toward the house as I finished the sentence, and 
Jim arose and went toward the gate; not the man of easy 
movements and courteous speech who had been my compan- 
ion for the past twenty-four hours, not Long, the gentleman, 


but "Long Jim," the loafer, awkward, slouching, uncouth 
of manner and speech. 

As the crowd made a somewhat noisy approach, Jim leaned 
over the gate and motioned them to silence. 

"Gentlemen," he said, seriously, "ye can't be any too 
still about this place, an' ye'd a' showed better gumption 
if ye hadn't paid yer respects in a squad, as if ye was comin' 
to a hangin'. Somehow ye seem mighty fond o' waitin' on 
Dr. Bethel in a gang." 

Acting upon a hint from me, Mr. Harris now went out, 
and in milder words, but with much the same meaning, ex- 
horted the visitors to quiet. 

And then, casting a quick glance behind him, and a 
somewhat apprehensive one toward Jim, the constable read 
liis warrant. The two men inside the gate listened with 
astonished faces. Indeed, Jim's assumption of amazement, 
viewed in the light of my knowledge concerning its genuine- 
ness, was ludicrous beyond description. 

Mr. Harris began an earnest expostulation, and turned 
to beckon me to his assistance, but Jim checked him by a 

"A\ r e can't have any disputing here," he said, sharply. 
"Don't argy, parson; tain't wuth while." 

Then he opened the gate and stepped suddenly out among 

"I'll go with ye," he said, "for the sake of peace. 
But," glaring about him fiercely, " if it wan't fer makin' 


a disturbance, again th'} doctor's orders, I'd take ye one at 
a time and thrash a little sense into ye. Come along, Mr. 
Constable; I'm goin' to ' pear' afore Jestice Summers, an' 
I'm goin' to walk right to the head o' this mob o' your'n, 
an' don't ye try to come none o' yer jailer dodges over me. 
Ye kin all walk behind, an' welcome, but (he first man as 
undertakes to lay a finger on me, or step along-side 
somethin'll happen to him." 

And Jim thrust his hands deep down in his pockets, 
walked coolly through the group, which divided to let him 
pass, and strode off up the hill. 

"Goodness!" ejaculated the valorous officer of the law, 
" is is there a man here that's got a pistol ?" 

No reply from his supporters. 

I put my hand behind me and produced a small re- 

"Take this," I said, proffering the weapon over the gate. 
" You had better humor his whim, but if he attempts to 
escape, you know how to stop him." 

He seized the protecting weapon, nodded his thanks, and 
hastened after his prisoner, followed by the entire body 

"My dear sir," said Mr. Harris, gravely, "I was sorry 
to see you do that. You surely don't think Long guilty ?" 

I turned tow r ard him, no longer trying to conceal my 

" He is as innocent as you or I," I replied, " and the 

"Goodness!" ejaculated the valorous officer of the law, "is is 
there a man here that's got a pistol ?" pnge 332. 



pidtol is not loaded. One may as well retain the good will 
of the magnates of the law, Mr. Harris." 

He smiled in his turn, and, wishing to avoid a discus- 
sion, in which I must of necessity play a very hypocritical 
part, I turned back and entered the cottage to explain the 
situation to the ladies. 

During that long, still afternoon, visitors came and 
went. Louise Barnard, a little refreshed and very anxious 
returned and resumed her post at the bedside. She was 
shocked and indignant at the news of Jim Long's arrest; 
and she breathed a sigh of relief and gratification upon be- 
ing told of the expected coming Dr. Denham. Late in 
the afternoon, Dr. Hess made a second visit, and when he 
returned to town Mr. Harris accompanied him, the two 
driving back in the doctor's gig. 

It was very quiet. Mrs. Harris dozed in the easy-chair; 
Louise sat mute and statute-like by the bedside of her lover, 
and I, oppressed by the stillness, was leaning over the open 
window sill, wondering how it was faring with Jim Long, 
when the gate gave the faintest creak, and I lifted my eyes 
to see the object of my mental inquiry coming toward me. 

Uttering an exclamation which roused good Mrs. Harris 
and caused the watcher in the inner room to turn her head, 
I hastened to meet him. 

"Long," I exclaimed, "what lucky fate has brought 
you back?" 

He glanced from me to the doorway, where Mrs. Harris 


was now standing, with an expectant look on her benevo 
lent countenance, and and replied, laconically : 

" Bail." 

" Good ! I was thinking of that." 

"Jim," broke in Mi's. Harris, eagerly, "who did it? 
We'll all bless his kindness." 

He advanced to the door, planted his right foot upon 
the lower step, rested his elbow on his knee, pushed his 
hat off his forehead, and grinned benignly on us both. 

"Then I'm the feller that'll walk off with the blessin'," 
he said, with a chuckle. " I went my own bail to the tune 
of five thousand dollars !" 

Mrs. Harris gave a gasp of surprise. I seated myself 
on the corner of the step farthest from Jim, and, seeing 
that he was about to volunteer a further explanation, re- 
mained silent. 

At the same moment I observed what was unoticed by 
the other two; Miss Barnard had left her post and was 
standing behind Mrs. Harris. 

"Ye see," continued Jim, giving me a sidelong glance, 
and then fixing his eyes upon the hem of Mrs. Harris's 
apron, "Ye see, I had ter appear afore Jestice Summers. 
Now, the Jestice," with another sidelong glance, and an 
almost imperceptable gesture, "is a man an' a brother. I 
ain't agoin' ter say anythin' agin' him. I s'pose he had to 
do his duty. There was some in that office that wanted 
ter see me put where I couldn't be so sassy, but I didn't 


mind them. The minit I got in my oar, I jest talked right 
straight at the Jestice, an' I told him in short order that 
ef I was sure of bein' treated on the square, I'd jest waive 
an examination. An' then I kind o' sighed, an' appealed 
to their feelin's, telliu' them that I hadn't no friends nor 
relations, but that may be, ef they gave me half a show, 
an' didn't set my bail too high, may be some one would go 
my security, an' give me a chance ter try ter clear myself. 
Wai! ef you could a looked around that office, ye'd a 
thought my chance o' gittin security was slim. The 
Jestice called the time on me, an' allowed 'twould be fair 
ter give me bail. An' then 'Squire Brookhouse, an' one or 
two more, piped in with objections, until the Jestice put 
the bail up ter five thousand. Of course that wilted me 
right down. Everybody grinned or giggled, an' nobody 
didn't ofter any more objections, an' the bizness was fin- 
ished up. Then, when they had got ter a place where there 
was no backin' out, I jest unbuttoned my coat an' vest 
whipped off a belt I'd got fixed handy for the 'casion, an' 
counted five thousand dollars right down under their noses !" 
Here he paused to lift his eyes to the face of Mrs. 
Harris, and to see. for the first time, his third auditor, who 
now came forward to grasp his hand, and utter rejoicings 
at his present liberty, and indignant disapproval of the par- 
ties who had brought against him a charge which she un- 
hesitatingly pronounced absurd and without reasonable 


22 *15 



Next Jim's hand came into the cordial grasp of good 
Mrs. Harris, who was more voluble than Louise Barnard, 
and none the less sincere. 

When, after a time, Jim and I found ourselves tete-d-teti 
for a moment, I said: 

"Long, I look on it as a fortunate thing that you were 
taken before Justice Summers." 

"Well," said Jim, dryly, " all things considered, so do I." 




The long day is ended at last ; the sun has set in a bank 
of dim clouds. There is no moon as yet, and that orb, 
which is due above the horizon in exactly eight minutes, 
by an authentic almanac, will scarcely appear at her best 
to-night, for the leaden clouds that swallowed up the sun 
have spread themselves across all the sky, leaving scarce a 
rent through which the moon may peep at the world. 

The darkness is sufficient to cover my journey, and the 
hour is yet early too early for birds of the night to be- 
gin to prowl, one might think ; yet, as I approach Jim 
Long's cabin, I encounter a sentinel, dimly outlined but 
upright before me, barring the way. 

" Hold on, my" 


"Oh! it's you, cap'n; all right. Come along; we're 

I follow him into his own cabin, and stand beside the 
door, which some one has closed as we enter, while Jim 
strikes a light, Then I see that the cabin is occupied by 
half a dozen men. 

"Pardner," says Jim, setting down the candle, and in- 


dicating the various individuals, by a gesture, as he names 
them, " this 'er's Mr. Warren, the captain o' the Trafton 

I turn upon Jim a look of surprise, but he goes 
placidly on. 

"This is young Mr. Warren." 

I return the nod of a bright-looking young farmer. 

" This is Mr. Booth, Mr. Benner, and Mr. Jaeger." 

The three men who stand together near the window bow 

"And this," finishes Jim, "is Mr. Harding." 

As Mr. Harding moves forward out of the shadow, I 
recognize him. It is the man M'hose recital of the mis- 
fortunes of Trafton, overheard by me on the day of my 
departure from Groveland, had induced me to come to the 
thief-ridden village. 

"I have met Mr. Harding before," I say, as I profter my 
hand to him. 

"I don't remember," with a look of abashed surprise. 

"Perhaps not, Mr. Harding; nevertheless, if it had not 
been for you I should, probably, never have visited Traf- 

The look of surprise broadens into amazement. But it 
is not the time for explanations. I turn back to Mr. 

" Am I to understand that you have a vigilance commit- 
tee already organized here?" 

"I follow him into his own cabin, and stand beside the door, 
which some one has closed as we enter, while Jim strikes a light." 
page 339. 



"We have an organized party, sir." Here Jim inter- 

"Ye see, I happen ter belong ter the vigilants. An' 
when ye asked nie ter name a reliable man, why, I jest 
thought I'd bring you an' Mr. Warren .together an' 'twould 
simplify matters. 'Twant my business to explain jest 

" Charlie," says Mr. Warren, addressing the young man 
near the door, " go outside and see that no one comes within 
seeing or hearing distance. We want Long here." 

The young vigilant mounts guard and I turn again to 
Mr. Warren. 

"Mr. Long has explained the nature of my business?" 

" Yes, you may be sure it was a surprise to me." 

" How many men have you ?" 

" Fifteen in all." 

" And you have all failed to find a clue to the identity 
of the horse-thieves?" 

" Yes, sir, we have failed. We have organized in secret 
and worked in secret. We hoped and expected to sift this 
matter to the bottom, and we have failed utterly. But Jim 
tells me that you have succeeded where we have failed." 

" Not quite that. Listen, gentlemen. I know where to 
put my hands, now, to-night, upon the six horses that were 
stolen one week ago. If it were merely a question of the 
recovery of these, I should not need your aid. It might be 
worth something to me if I recovered the horses, but it wil 


be worth much more to us, and to all Trafton, if we cap- 
ture the thieves, and they cannot be taken to-night, perhaps 
not for many nights. We are surrounded with spies; the 
man we might least suspect, may be the very one to betray 
us. Our only safe course is to work in harmony, and, for the 
present, at least, trust none outside of this room. I have 
trusted this organization to Jim Long, believing in his dis- 
cretion. He assures me that I can rely upon every man 
of you." 

Mr. Warren bares his head, and comes forward. 

"We have all been losers at the hands of these rascally 
thieves," he says, earnestly. " And we all want to see the 
town free from them. We are not poor men; the vigilante 
arc all farmers who have something at stake. Show us how 
to clean out these horse-thieves, and if you want reliable 
men, they will be on hand. If you want money, that can 
be had in plenty." 

"All we want, is here ; half a dozen men with ordinary 
courage and shrewdness, and a litttle patience. The moon 
is now at its full ; before a new moon rises, we will have 
broken up the gang of Trafton outlaws !" 

" And why," asks Mr. Warren, eagerly, " must our time 
be regulated by the moon ?" 

" Because," I say, significantly, " horse-thieves are seldom 
abroad on moonlight nights." 

An hour passes ; an hour during which Mr. Warren, 
Mr. Harding, and myself, talk much, and the others listen 

i VIGIL ANTS. 345 

attentively, making, now and then, a brief comment, or ut- 
tering an approving ejaculation. All except Jim. He has 
forced young Warren to join the conference within, and has 
stood on picket-duty outside, to all appearances, the least 
interested of any gathered there for counsel. 

It is ten o'clock when we separate ; the vigilants going 
their way silently, and one at a time, and Jim and myself 
returning to the cottage together. 

" Ye couldn't have found six better men," says Jim, who 
has chosen to sustain his role of illiterate rustic throughout 
the evening. 4< Ye can trust 'em/' 

" I have given them no unnecessary information, Long. 
Not half so much as you have scented out for yourself 
They know enough to enable them to do what will be re- 
quired of them and nothing more." 

"Then," w T ith a dry laugh, "they know more than 
I do." 

" If they know that, you are actually capable of drawing 
the reins over the 'nine parts of speech,'" I retort, "they 
did not learn it from me." 

"Then," with another chuckling laugh, "I fancy they 
don't know it." 

Dr. Denham came at midnight, and Miss Barnard greeted 
him with a smile that ended in a sob. 

Evidently "our old woman" had been enlightened con- 
cerning her, for he took her in his arms and kissed her 


with grave tenderness, before going to the bedside of his 

He took absolute command of the cottage, and no one, 
not even Louise, ventured to oppose him or raise the voice 
of argument. He took all responsibility out of my hands, 
and dismissed me with his usual formula. 

u Go about your business, you young rascal. 1 might 
have known you'd be at some new deviltry shortly. Go 
about your business, and by the time I get Bethel on his 
feet, you'll have me another patient, I'll be bound." 

But Jim found favor in the eyes of "our old woman," 
who straightway elected him general assistant, and he soon 
discovered that to be assistant to Dr. Denham was no sin- 
ecure. Indeed, a more abject bond slave than Jim, during 
that first week of Bethel's illness, could not well be 

"Our old woman's" scepter extended, too, over poor 
Louise. He was as tender as possible, allowing her to assist 
him when she could, and permitting her to watch by the 
bedside four or five hours each day. But beyond that she 
could not trespass. There must be no exhausting effort, 
no more night vigils. 

Louise rebelled at first; tried coaxing, then pouting, 
then submitted to the power that would wield the scepter. 

The good doctor brought from the city a package sent 
me by my Chief, which he put into my hands at the first 


It contained papers, old and yellow; some copied memo- 
randa, and two photographs. When I had examined all 
these, I breathed a sigh of relieved surprise. 

Another link was added to my chain of evidence, another 
thread to the web I was weaving. 

Without that packet I had cherished a suspicion. With 
it, I grasped a certainty. 




The following week was to me one of busy idleness. 
Now at the cottage, where Bethel, pain-racked and delir- 
ious, buffeted between life and death. Now closeted for a 
half-hour with the new night operator. Keeping an eye 
upon Dimber Joe, who continued his lounging and novel 
reading, and who was, to all appearances, the idlest and 
most care-free man in Trafton. 

I saw less of Jim Long than pleased me, for, when he 
was not bound to the chariot wheel of " our old woman," 
he contrived somehow to elude me, or to avoid all tete-d-tetes. 
I scarcely saw him except in the presence of a third 

Mr. Warren, or one or two other members of the party 
who had met me at Jim Long's cabin, were constantly to 
be seen about Trafton. During the day they were care- 
lessly conspicuous ; during the night their carelessness gave 
place to caution ; but they were none the less present, as 
would have been proven by an emergency. 

The new telegraph operator was a host in himself. He 
was social, talkative, and something of a lounger. He 


found it easy to touch the pulse of Trafton gossip, and knew 
what they thought at Porter's concerning Bethel's calamity, 
Long's arrest and subsequent release under bail, etc., without 
seeming to have made an effort in search of information. 

The two questions now agitating the minds "of the Traf- 
ton gossips were : " Who shot Dr. Bethel, if Jim Long did 
not ?" and " Where did Jim Long, who had always been 
considered but one remove from a pauper, get the money 
to pay so heavy a bail ?" 

The theories in regard to these two questions were as 
various as the persons who advocated them, and were as 
astounding and absurd as the most diligent sensation-hun- 
ter could have desired. 

Jim's gun had been found in a field less than half a miie 
from Bethel's cottage, by some workmen who had been 
sent by 'Squire Brookhouse to repair one of his farm fences, 
and I learned, with peculiar interest, that Tom Briggs was 
one of these workmen. 

Upon hearing that the gun had been found, Dimber Joe 
had made his statement. He had seen Jim Long, between 
the hours of nine and ten p. M., going in the direction of 
the cottage, with a gun upon his shoulder. 

Of course, when making this assertion, he had no idea 
of the use to which it would be put ; and equally, of course, 
he much regretted that he had mentioned the fact when he 
found himself likely to be used as a witness against Long, 
whom he declared to be an inoffensive fellow, so far as he 


had known him, and toward whom he could have no ill- 

In due time, sooner, in fact, than I had dared hope, there 
came a message from Carnes. 

It came through the hands of young Harris. Carnes, 
having sent it early in the day, and knowing into whose 
hands it would probably fall, had used our cipher alphabet: 

4. F d, t, t, o w a u h e n a x , , . C . 

This is the cipher which, using the figure at the head as 
the key, will easily be interpreted : 

Found. What next? CAKNES. 

Found ! That meant much. It meant that the end of 
the Groveland mystery was near at hand ! 

But there was much to learn before we could decide and 
reply to the query, "What next?" 

While Harris was absent for a few moments, during the 
afternoon, the night operator sent the following to Carnes. 

Where found? In what condition? What do you advise? 
Before midnight, this answer came : 

In a fourth-rate theater One well, the other sick. Their friends 
had better come for them at once. Can you get your hands on 
Johnny La Porte? 

To this I promptly replied : 
Telegraph particulars to the Agency. We can get La Porte, but 


must not alarm the others too soon. State what you want with 
him. Wyman will come to you, if needed. 

This message dispatched, I dictated another to my Chief. 

Let Wyman act with Carnes. Can not quit this case at present 
Carnes will wire you particulars. 

This being sent, I went back to my hotel and waited. 
The next day the night operator offered to relieve Harris, 
an offer which was gladly accepted. 

A little before noon the following message came: 

Instructions received. "Wyman, Ewing, Rutger, and La Porte 
start for New Orleans to-morrow. Do you need any help? 

I heaved a sigh of relief and gratification, and sped back 
the answer, " No." 




The time came when Games told me the story of his 
New Orleans search. As he related it to me then, let him 
relate it now: 

Arrived in New Orleans without trouble or delay, at 
three o'clock in the afternoon. Registered at the " Hotel 
Honore," a small house near the levees; giving my name 
as George Adams, sugar dealer, from St. Louis. 

Then began a hunt among the theaters, and, before seven 
o'clock I had found the place I wanted, " The Little 
Adclphi," owned and managed by " Storms & Brookhouse." 
It is a small theater, but new and neatly fitted up, has a 
bar attached, and beer tables on the floor of the auditorium. 
I made no effort to see Brookhouse, but went back to the 
" Honore," after learning that money would open the door 
of the green room to any patron of the theater. 

After supper I refreshed my memory by a look at the 
pictures of the missing young ladies, including that of Miss 
Amy Holmes, and then I set out for the little Adelphi. 

There was never an easier bit of work than this New 
Orleans business. The curtain went up on a "Minstrel 


first part/' and there, sitting next to one of the "end men," 
was Mamie Rutger! 

Her curly hair was stuck full of roses. She wore a very 
short pink satin dress, and her little feet were conspicuous 
in white kid slippers. If Miss Mamie was forcibly ab- 
ducted, she has wasted no time in grieving over it. If she 
has been in any manner deceived or deluded, she bears it 
wonderfully well. She sang her ballad with evident en- 
joyment, and her voice rang out in the choruses, clear and 
sweet. Her lips were wreathed in smiles, her cheeks 
glowed, and her eyes sparkled. Occasionally she turned 
her head to whisper to the blacked-up scamp who sat at 
her right hand. Altogether she deported herself with the 
confidence of an old habitue of the stage. Evidently she 
had made herself popular with the Little Adelphi audi- 
ences, and certainly she enjoyed her popularity. 

After the first part, I watched the stage impatiently, it 
being too early to venture into the green-room. 

Mamie Rutger did not re-appear, but, after an hour, 
occupied principally by "burnt cork artists," Miss Lotta 
Le Clair, "the song and dance Queen," came tripping from 
the wings ; and Miss Lotta Le Clair, in a blue velvet coat 
and yellow satin nether garments, was none other than 
Amy Holmes! She danced very well, and sang very ill ; 
and I fancied that she had tasted too often of the cheap 
wine dealt out behind the bar. Very soon after her exit 
I made my way to the green-room, piloted by the head 



waiter. I had, of course, gotten myself up for the occasion, 
and I looked like a cross between a last year's fashionplate 
and a Bowery blackleg. 

It is always easy to make a variety actress talk, and 
those at the Little Adelphi proved no exception. Two or 
three bottles of wine opened the way to some knowledge. 

By chatting promiscuously with several of the Adelphi 
belles, I learned that Amy Holmes and Mamie Rutger, 
who, by the way, was "Rose Deschappelles" on the bills, 
lived together. That Amy, who was not known at the 
theater by that name, was "a hard one," and "old in the 
business;" while " Rose" was a soft little prig who " wore 
her lover's picture in a locket," and was " as true to him 
as steel." The girls all united in voting Amy disagreeable, 
in spite of her superior wisdom ; and Mamie, "a real nice, 
jolly little thing," spite of her verdancy. 

The fair Amy was then approached, and my real work 
began. I ordered, in her honor, an extra brand of wine. 
I flattered her, I talked freely of my wealth, and displayed 
my money recklessly. I became half intoxicated in her 
society, and, through it all, bemoaned the fact that I could 
not offer, for her quaffing, the sparkling champagne that 
was the only fitting drink for such a goddess. 

The Adelphi champagne was detestable stuff, and Miss 
Amy was connoisseur enough to know it. She frankly con- 
fessed her fondness for good ( hampagne, and could tell me 
just where it was to be found. 


The rest came as a matter of course. I proposed to give 
her a champagne banquet; she accepted, and the programme 
was speedily arranged. 

At eleven o'clock the next day, she would meet me at a 
convenient little restaurant near the theater. I must come 
with a carriage. We would have a drive, and, just outside 
the city, would come upon Louis Meniu's Summer cafe. 
There we would find fine luscious fruits, rare wines, every- 
thing choice and dainty. 

Miss Amy, who seemed to possess all the luxurious tastes 
of a native Creole, arranged the programme, and we parted 
at the green-room door, mutually satisfied, she anticipat- 
ing a gala day, and I seeing before me the disagreeable 
necessity of spoiling her frolic and depriving the Little 
Adelphi, for a time at least, of one of its fairest attractions. 

The course which I had resolved to pursue was not the 
one most to my taste ; but it was the simplest, shortest, and 
would accord best with the instructions given me, viz., that 
no arrests must be made, nor anything done to arouse the 
suspicions of Fred Brookhouse, and cause him to give the 
alarm to his confederates in the North. 

I had purposely held aloof from Mamie Rutger, feeling 
convinced that it were best not to approach her until a 
definite course of action had been decided upon. Nor was 
I entirely certain that my scheme would succeed. If Amy 
Holmes should prove a shade wiser, shrewder, and more 
courageous, and a trifle less selfish and avaricious than I 


had judged her to be, my plans might fail and, in that case, 
the girl might work me much mischief. 

I weighed the possibilities thoughtfully, and resolved to 
risk the chances. 

Accordingly, on the morning after my visit to the Little 
Adelphi, I sent my first telegram, and made arrangements 
for putting my scheme into execution. 

The beginning of the programme was carried out, as 
planned by the young lady. 

We drove to the cafe, kept by Louis Meniu, and tested 
his champagne, after which I began to execute my plans. 

" Louis Meniu might be all very well," I said, " but 
there was no man in New Orleans, so I had often been told 
by Northern travelers, who could serve such a dinner as 

did the chef at the P Hotel. Should we drive to this 

house and there eat the best dinner to be served in the 

The prospect of dining at a swell hotel pleased the young 
lady. She gave instant consent to the plan, and we turned 
back to the city and the P Hotel/ 

Here we were soon installed in a handsome private par- 
lor, and, after I had paused a few moments in the office, 
to register, "Geo. Adams and sister, St. Louis, Mo.," I 
closed the door upon servants and intruders, and the en- 
gagement commenced. 

Having first locked the door and put the key in my 
pocket, I approached Miss Amy, who stood before a mirror, 


carelessly arranging a yellow rose in her black frisettes. 
Dropping my swaggering, half-maudlin, wholly-admiring 
tone and manner, I said, quietly : 

"Now, Miss Amy Holmes, if you will sit down opposite 
me, we will talk things over." 

She started violently, and turned toward me with a stare 
of surprise, in which, however, I could observe no fear. 
The name had caused her astonishment. I had been care- 
ful to address her by her stage name, or rather the one she 
chose to use at the theater. I hardly suppose her real name 
to be Holmes, probably it is Smith or Jones instead. 

She let the hand holding the rose drop at her side, but 
did not loosen her grasp of the flower. 

"Look here/' she exclaimed, sharply. "Where did you 
pick up that name? and what kind of a game are you giv- 
ing me, anyhow?" 

After the surprise occasioned by the utterance of her dis- 
carded name, my altered tone and manner had next im- 
pressed her. 

" I got that name where I got several others, Miss Amy, 
and the game I am playing is one that is bound to win." 

She sat down upon the nearest chair, and stared mutely. 

"How would you like to go back to Amora, Miss 
Holmes? Or to Groveland and the widow Ballou's?" 

She sprang up with her eyes flashing, and made a sudden 
dash for the door. Of course it resisted her effort to 
open it. 


"Open that door," she said, turning upon me a look of 
angry defiance. "You are either a. fool or a meddler. 
Open the door !" 

I laid one hand somewhat heavily upon her shoulder, 
and led her back to the seat she had just vacated. 

"Possibly I may be both fool and meddler," I replied, 
in a tone so stern that it seemed to arrest her attention, and 
impress her with the fact that I was neither trifling nor to 
be trifled with. "But I am something else, and I know 
more of you, my young lady, and of your past career, than 
you would care to have me know. Perhaps you may never 
have heard of Michael Games, the detective, but there are 
others who have made his acquaintance." 

Now, all this was random firing, but I acted on the 
knowledge that nine-tenths of the women who are pro- 
fessional adventuresses have, in their past, something either 
criminal or disgraceful to conceal, and on the possibility 
that Miss Amy Holmes might not belong to the exceptional 

The shot told. I saw it in the sudden blanching of her 
cheek, in the startled look that met mine for just an instant. 
If there were nothing else to conceal, I think she would 
have defied me and flouted at my efforts to extract infor- 
mation on the subject of the Groveland mystery. 

But I had touched at a more vulnerable point. If I 
could now convince her that I knew her past career, the 
rest would be easy. 

" Opeu that door," she said, turning upon me a look of angry de- 
fiance. page 358. 



It was a delicate undertaking. I might say too much, 
or too little, but I must press the advantage I had gained. 
Her attention was secured. Her curiosity was aroused. 
There was a shade of anxiety on her face. 

Drawing a chair opposite her, and seating myself therein, 
I fixed my eyes upon her face, and addressed her in a tone 
half stern, half confidential : 

"You are a plucky girl," I began, "and I admire you 
for that; and when I tell you that I have followed you, or 
tracked you, from the North, through Amora, through 
Groveland, down to the Little Adelphi, you will perhaps 
conjecture that I do not intend to be balked or evaded, even 
by so smart a little lady as you have proved yourself. I 
bear you no personal ill-will, and I much dislike to perse- 
cute a woman even when she has been guilty of 

I paused; she made a restless movement, and a look of 
pain flitted across her face. 

" Perhaps we may be able to avoid details," I said, slowly. 
" I will let you decide that." 

"How?" with a gasp of relief or surprise, I could hnrdly 
guess which. 

"Listen. Some time ago two girls disappeared from a 
little northern community, and I was one of the detectives 
employed to find them. I need not go into details, since 
you know so much about the case. In the course of the 
investigation, we inquired pretty closely into the character 
of the company kept by those two young ladies, and learned 



that a Miss Amy Holmes had been a schoolmate of the 
missing girls. Afterward, this same Amy Holmes and 
a Miss Grace Ballon made an attempt to escape from the 
Ballon farm house. The scheme was in part frustrated, 
but Amy Holmes escaped. Mrs. Ballon furnished us 
with a photo of Miss Amy Holmes, and -when I saw it / 
knew it /" 


This time it was an interjection of unmistakable terror. 
It gave me my cue. 

" I knew it for the picture of a young woman who had 
committed a crime; a young woman who would be well re- 
ceived at police headquarters, and I said to myself I will 
now find this young person who calls herself Amy Holmes." 

A look of sullen resolution was settling upon her face. 
She sat before me with her eyes fixed upon the carpet and 
her lips tightly closed. 

"I have found her," I continued, mercilessly. "And 
now shall I take you back with me, a prisoner, and hand 
you over to the officers of the law, or will you answer 
truthfully such questions as I shall put to you, and go 
away from this house a free woman?" 

She was so absorbed by her own terror, or so over- 
shadowed by some ghost of the past, that she seemed to 
take no note of my interest in the Groveland business, ex- 
cept as it had been an incidental aid in hunting her down. 

"Do you think I would trust you?" she said, with a 


last effort at defiance. "You want to make me testily 
against myself." 

"You mistake, or you do not understand. I am at 
present working in the interest of the Groveland case. My 
discovery of you was an accident, and my knowledge con- 
cerning you I am using as a means toward the elucidation 
of the mystery surrounding the movements of Mamie 
Rutger and Nellie Ewing. Mamie Rutger I saw last 
night at the Little Adelphi. Nellie Ewing is no doubt 
within reach. I might find them both without your as- 
sistance. It would only require a little more time and a 
little more trouble ; but time just now is precious. I have 
other business which demands my attention at the North. 
Therefore, I say, tell me all that you know concerning 
these two girls all, mind. If you omit one necessary de- 
tail, if you fabricate in one particular, I shall know it. 
Answer all my questions truthfully. I shall only ask such 
as concern your knowledge or connection with this Grove- 
land affair. If you do this, you have nothing to fear from 
me. If you refuse you are my prisoner. You compre- 
hend me?" 

She eyed me skeptically. 

" How do I know that you will let me go, after all ?" 
she said. 

"You have my promise, and I am a man of my word. 
You are a woman, and I don't want to arrest you. If you 
were a man, I should not offer you a chance for escape. Do 


as I wish and you are free, and if you need assistance you 
shall have it. You must choose at once; time presses." 

She hesitated a moment, and then said : 

"I may as well tell you about, the girls, as you seem to 
know so much, and T can't be arrested for that." 

"Very well! Tell your story, then, truly and without 




"You say that you have seen Mamie Rutger at the 
theater/' began the unwilling narrator, rather ungraciously, 
"and so I should think you wouldn't need to be told why 
she ran away from home. She wanted to go on the stage, 
and so did Nellie Ewing. Every country girl in christen- 
doni wants to be an actress, and if she has a pretty face and 
a decent voice she feels sure that she can succeed. The 
girls had both been told that they were pretty, and they 
could both sing, so they ran away to come out at the Little 

"Mamie took to the business like a duck to water. 
Nellie got sick and blue and whimsical, and has not ap- 
peared at the theater for several weeks. They live at 349 
B place." 

I made a careful note of the address, and then said : 

" Well, proceed." 

"Proceed! what more do you want to know? I have 
told you why they ran away and where to find them." 

This was too much. My wrath must have manifested 
itself in face and voice, for she winced under my gaze and 
made no further attempt to baffle or evade me. 


"I want to know who devised the villainous plot to 
allure two innocent country girls away from home and 
friends? Who set you on as decoy and temptress, and what 
reward did you receive? There are men or scoundrels con- 
nected with this affair; who are they; and what means have 
they used to bring about such a misfortune to the girls and 
their friends? Tell the whole truth, and remember what I 
have said. If you evade, omit, equivocate, I shall 
know it!" 

"Will you give me time?" she faltered. 

"Not ten minutes. Do you want time to telegraph to 
Arch Brookhouse? It will be useless; he is in the hands 
of the detectives, and no message can reach him." 

"What has Arch done?" she cried, excitedly. "He is 
not the one to be blamed." 

" He has done enough to put him out of the way 
of mischief. You have seen the last of Arch Brook- 

" But Fred is the man who set this thing going!" 

" Very likely. And Arch and Louis Brookhouse were 
the brothers to help him. What about Johnny La Porte 
and Ed. Dwight? You seel know too much. There are 
two officers down-stairs. If you have not finished your 
story, and told it to my satisfaction, before half-past four, 
I will call them up and hand you over to them. It is now 
ten minutes to four." 

She favored me with a glance full of impotent hatred, 


sat quite silent for a long moment, during which I sat be- 
fore her with a careless glance fixed on my watch. 

Then she began : 

" I worked at the Little Adelphi over a year ago. There 
was a hot rivalry between us, the Gayety, and the ' Frolique.' 
Fred Brookhouse was managing alone then ; Storms only 
came into partnership in the Spring. 

" During the winter the Gayety brought out some new 
attractions, I mean new to the profession ; no old names 
that had been billed and billed, but young girls with 
fresh faces and pretty voices. They were new in the 
business, and the 'old stagers,' especially the faded and 
cracked-voiced ones, said that they would fail, they would 
hurt the business. But the managers knew better. They 
knew that pretty, youthful faces were the things most 
thought of in the varieties. And the 'freshness' of the new 
performers was only another attraction to green-room 
visitors. Nobody knew where these new girls came from, 
and nobody could find out ; but they drew, and the Little 
Adelphi lost customers, who went over to the ( Gayety.' 

" Fred Brookhouse was angry, and he began to study 
how he should outdo the ' Gayety,' and ' put out' the new 

"At the carnival season, Arch and Louis Brookhouse 
came down; and we got to be very good friends. Do you 
mean to use anything that I say to make me trouble?" she 
broke off, abruptly. 


" Not if you tell the entire truth and spare nobody." 

"Then I will tell it just as it happened. Arch and Fred 
and I were together one day after rehearsal. I was a 
favorite at the theater, and Fred consulted me sometimes. 
Fred wanted some fresh attractions, and wondered how 
they got the new girls at the ' Gayety.' And I told him 
that I thought they might have been ' recruited.' He did 
not seem to understand, and I explained that there were 
managers who paid a commission to persons who would get 
them young, pretty, bright girls, who could sing a little, 
for the first part, and for green-room talent. 

" I told him that I knew of an old variety actress who 
went into the country for a few weeks in the Summer, and 
picked up girls for the variety business. They were some- 
times poor girls who ' worked out/ and were glad of a 
chance to earn an easier living, and sometimes daughters 
of well-to-do people ; girls who were romantic or ambitious, 
stage-struck, and easily flattered. 

" Fred asked me how I knew all this, and I told him 
that I was roped into the business in just that way." 

"Was that true?" 

"Yes; it was true," a dark shade crossing her face. 
"But never mind me. Fred asked me if I knew where to 
go to find three or four pretty girls. He said he did not 
want 'biddies;' they must be young and pretty; must be 
fair singers, and have nice manners. He could get gawks 
in plenty. He wanted lively young girls who would be 


interesting and attractive. Some new idea seemed to strike 
Arch Brookhouse. lie took Fred aside, and by and by 
they called Louis, and the three talked a long time. 

"The next day, Arch and Louis came to me. They 
knew where to find just the girls that would suit Fred, but 
it would be some trouble to get them. Then they told me 
all about the Groveland girls; Nellie and her sister, Mamie, 
Grace Ballon and one or two others. Arch knew Nellie 
and Grace. Louis seemed particularly interested in 

" Fred is a reckless fellow, and he would spend any 
amount to out-do the 'Gayety/ and he seemed infatuated 
with the new scheme for getting talent. Besides, he knew 
that he could pay them what he liked; they would not be 
clamoring for high salaries. He agreed to pay my ex- 
penses North if I would get the girls for him. 

"Arch and Louis went home, and we corresponded 
about the business. Finally, Arch wrote that three of 
the girls would attend school at Amora, the Spring term, 
and it was settled that I should attend also. 

" I rather liked the prospect. Fred fitted me out in good 
style, and I went. 

"Of course I soon found how to manage the girls. 
Mamie Rutger was ripe for anything new, and she did 
not like her stepmother. She was easy to handle. 

" Grace was vain and easily influenced . She thought she 
could run away and create a sensation at home, and come 



back after a while to astonish the natives with her success 
as an actress. 

" Nellie Ewing was more difficult to manage, but I found 
out that she was desperately in love with Johnny La Porte. 
Johnny had begun by being in love with Nellie, but her silly 
devotion had tired him, and besides, he is fickle by nature. 

" I told Arch that if we got Nellie, it would have to be 
through La Porte. Arch knew how to manage La Porte, 
who was vain, and prided himself upon being a ' masher.' 
He thought to be mixed up in a sensational love affair, 
would add to his fame as a dangerous fellow. He sang a 
good tenor, and often sang duets with Nellie. 

"Louis Brookhouse had a chum named Ed. Dwight; 
Ed. had been, or claimed to have been, a song and dance 
man. I don't think he was ever anything more than an 
amateur, but he was perpetually dancing jigs, and singing 
comic songs, and went crazy over a minstrel show. 

" Louis used to take Grace out for an occasional drive, 
and one day he introduced Ed. to Mamie. 

" After a time, Arch and Louis thought they could better 
their original plan. Arch is a shrewd fellow, with a strong 
will, and he could just wind Johnny La Porte around his 
finger. Johnny took him for a model, for Arch was a 
stylish fellow, who knew all the ropes, and had seen a deal 
of the world ; and Johnny, while he had been a sort of 
prince among the Grovelandcrs, had never had a taste of 
toAvn life. 


" Arch managed Johnny, and he managed Nellie Ewing." 

She paused, and something in her face made me say, 
sternly : 

" How did Johnny La Porte manage Nellie Ewing?" 
and then I glanced ominously at my watch, which I still 
held in my hand. 

She moved uneasily, and averted her eyes. 

" Nellie was conscientious," she resumed, reluctantly. 
" She had all sorts of scruples. But Johnny told her that 
he was to go South and study law with his mother's cousin, 
who lived in New Orleans. He said that he dared not 
marry until he had finished his studies, but if she would 
marry him privately, and keep the marriage a secret, she 
could go South and they would not be separated. 

"She agreed to this, and the ceremony was performed. 
After it was over, he told her that he had just discovered 
that he would be subject to arrest under some new marriage 
law, and that they would be separated if it became known. 

" And then he persuaded her to come here before him 
and work at the Little Adelphi ; telling her that if her 
father found her there they would not suspect him, and as 
soon as his studies were over he would claim her openly." 

Again she hesitated. 

" And was this precious programme carried out ?" I de- 

"Yes. It was a long time before Nellie consented, but 
a little cool treatment from Johnny brought her to terms. 


She got away very nicely. I presume you know something 
about that." 

"Never mind what I know. How did she get rid of 
her horse after leaving Mrs. Ballou's house?" 

" Not far from Mrs. Ballou's there is a small pieee of 
timber. Johnny was there with his team and he had a 
fellow with him who took charge of the pony. Johnny 
drove Nellia ten miles towards Amora, driving at full 
speed, Th'jre Ed. Dwight, with his machine wagon, waited, 
and Nellie was taken by Ed. into Amora. On the way 
she put on some black clothes and a big black veil. At 
Amora, Louis Brookhouse was waiting. They got there 
just in time to catch the midnight express, and were almost 
at their journey's end before Nellie was missed." 

"Stop. You have said that Nellie Ewing has not been 
at the theater of late; has been blue, and ill. AVhat has 
caused all this?" 

She colored hotly, and a frightened look crept into her eyes 

"You are not to hold me to blame?" 

' Not if you answer me truly." 

"One night I had come home from the theater with 
Nellie, and she began crying because Johnny did not come 
as he had promised, and did not write often enough. 1 
was tired and cross, and I suppose I had taken too much 
wine. I forgot myself, and told her that Johnny had hired 
a man to personate a parson, and that she was not married 
at all. She broke down entirely after that. 


I sprang to my feet, for the moment forgetting that the 
creature before me was a woman. I wanted to take her by 
the throat and fling her from the window. 

"Goon!" I almost shouted. "Goon; my patience is 
lu-arly exhausted. Is Xellie Ewing seriously ill?" 

''She is fretting and pining; she thinks she is dying, and 
she loves Johnny La Porte as much as ever." 

"And Mamie Rutger?" 

"She was glad to run away. One evening when every 
body about the farm was busy, she waited at the front gate 
for Ed. D wight. People were used to the sight of his 
covered wagon, and it was the last thing to suspect. But 
Mamie Rutger went from her father's gate in that wagon, 
and she and Dwi^ht drove boldly to Sharon, and both took 

O v 

the midnight train as the others did at Amora. 

"Ed. only went a short distance with Mamie; he came 
back the next morning. Mamie was plucky enough to 
come on alone." 

"And then you and Grace Ballon tried to elope?" 


" Well, I won't trouble you to tell you that story. 1 
know all about it. Xow, listen to me. I have registered 
you here as my sister, and you are going to stay here for 
one week a prisoner. You are to speak to no one, write to 
no one. You will be constantly watched, and if you at- 
tempt to disobey me you know the consequences. As 
soon as Mr. Rutger and 'Squire Ewing arrive I will set 


you at liberty, and no one shall harm you; but until then 
you must remain in your own room, and see no one except 
in my presence." 

" But you promised " 

" I shall keep my promise, but choose my own time." 

" But the theater" 

" You can write them a note stating that you are going 
to leave the city for a little recreation. You may send a 
similar note to Mamie and Nellie." 

" You are not treating me fairly." 

" I am treating you better than you deserve. Did you 
dj;il fairly at Amora and Groveland ? If E were not 
morally sure that such crimes as yours must be punished 
sooner or later, I should not dare set you free." 




That is how Miss Amy Holmes was brought to judg- 
ment. I had managed her by stratagem, and extracted the 
truth from her under false pretenses. The weapon that I 
brandished above her head was a reed of straws, but it 
sufficed. My pretended knowledge of her past history had 
served my purpose. 

What her secret really was, and is, I neither know nor 
care. She is a woman, and when a woman has stepped 
down from her pedestal the world is all against her. The 
law may safely trust such sinners and their punishment 
to Dame Xature, who never errs, and never forgives, and 
to Time, who is the sternest of all avengers. 

After hearing her story, I sent my second telegram to 
you, and then my third ; and after assuring myself that 
the girl had told the truth concerning Nellie Ewing, I 
telegraphed to the office, giving the hints which Wyman 
acted on. 

I should not have liked Wyman's task of going to those 
t\vo honest farmers and telling them the truth concerning 
their daughters; but I should not have been averse to the 
other work. 


I can imagine Johnny La Porte, under the impression 
that he was preparing for a day's lark, oiling his curly locks, 
scenting his pocket handkerchief, and driving Wyman, 
in whom he thought he had found a boon companion, to 
Sharon, actually flying into the arms of the avengers, at the 
heels of his own roadsters. I should have driven over that 
ten miles of country road, had I been in Wyman's place, 
bursting with glee, growing fat on the stupidity of the 
sleek idiot at my side. 

But Wyman is a modest fellow, and given to seeing only 
the severe side of things, and he says there is no glory in 
trapping a fool. Possibly he is right. 

I should like to have seen Johnny La Porte when he 
was brought, unexpectedly, before 'Squire Ewing and 
Farmer Rutger, to be charged with his villainy, and offered 
one chance for his life. He had heard the Grovelanders 
talk, and he knew that the despoilers of those two Grove- 
land homes had been dedicated to Judge Lynch. 

Small wonder that he was terror-stricken before these 
two fathers, and that under the lash of Wyman's eloquence 
he already felt the cord tightening about his throat. 

I don't wonder that he whined and grovelled and sub- 
mitted, abjectly, to their demands. But I do wonder that 
those two fathers could let him out of their hands alive; 
and I experienced a thrill of ecstacy when I learned that 
Wyman kicked him three times, with stout boots! 

That must have been an unpleasant journey to New 


Orleans. The two farmers, stern, silent, heavy of heart, 
and filled with anxiety. La Porte, who was taken in hand 
by Wyman, writhing under the torments of his own con- 
science and his own terror, and compelled to submit to his 
guardian's frequent tirades of scorn and contempt, treated, 
for the first time in his life, like the poltroon he was. 

I found the t\vo girls at the address given by Amy 
Holmes ; and, more to spare the two farmers the sight of 
her, than for her sake, I did not compel her to repeat her 
story in their presence, but related it myself instead. 

It's not worth while to attempt a description of the 
meeting between the two girls and their parents. Mamie 
was, at first, inclined to rebel ; but Nellie Ewing broke 
down completely, and begged to be taken home. She was 
pale and emaciated, a sad and pitiful creature. Her father 
was overcome with grief at sight of the change in her. He 
could not trust himself to speak to her of Johnny La 
Porte; and so what a Jack of all trades a detective is he 
called me from the room and delegated to me the unpleas- 
ant task. 

I did it as well as I could. I told her as gently as pos- 
sible that Johnny La Porte was in New Orleans, and asked 
if she wanted to see him. She cried for joy, poor child, 
and begged me to send for him at once. And then I told 
her why we had brought him ; he was prepared to make 
what reparation he could. Did she wish him to make her 
his wife? She interrupted me with a joyful cry. 


" Would he do that ? Oh, then she could go home and 
die happy." 

In that moment I made a mental vow that this dying 
girl, if she could be made any happier by it, should have 
not only the name of the young scoundrel she so foolishly 
loved, but his care and companionship as well. 

I assured her that he was ready to make her his lawful 
wife, but could not tell her that he did it under compulsion. 

After a long talk with 'Squire Ewing, during which I 
persuaded him to think first of his daughter's needs, and 
to make such use of Johnny La Porte as would best serve 
her, I went back to the hotel, where we had left the young 
scamp in charge of AVyman, and a little later in the day 
the ceremony was performed which made Johnny La Porte 
the husband of the girl he had sought to ruin. 

Not long after this I invited the young man to a tctc-d- 
tete, and he followed me somewhat ungraciously into a room 
adjoining that in which his new wife lay. 

"Sit down," I said, curtly, motioning him to a chair 
opposite tlrjone in which I seated myself. " Sit down. I 
want to give you a little advice concerning your future 

He threw back his head defiantly ; evidently he believed 
that he was now secure from further annoyance, and no 
longer within reach of law and justice. 

" I don't need your advice," he said, pettishly. " I have 
done all that you, or any one else, can require of me." 


" Mistaken youth, your conformity with my wishes is 
but now begun." 

"You can't bully me, now," he retorted. "I have 
married the girl, and that's enough." 

" It is not enough ! it is not all that you will do." 

" You are a liar." 

I took him by the shoulders, and lifting him fairly off 
his feet shook him as a terrier shakes a rat. Then I popped 
him down upon the chair he had refused to occupy, and 
said : 

"There, you impudent little dunce, if you want to call 
me any more names, don't hesitate. Now, hear me ; you 
will do precisely what I bid you, now, and hereafter, or 
you will exchange that smart plaid suit for one adorned 
with horizontal stripes, and I'll have that curly pate of 
yours as bare as a cocoanut." 

" The law," he began. 

" The law may permit you to break the marriage vow 
you have just taken, but /will not." 

" You ?" incredulously. 

"Yes, J," I retorted, firmly. "The law of this mighty 
country, made by very wise men, and enacted by very 
great fools, is a wondrous vixen. You have stolen 'Squire 
Swing's daughter, and for that the law permits you to 
go unhung. You have stolen 'Squire Ewing's horse, and 
for that, the law will put you in the State's prison." 

" His horse I ! " the poor wretch gasped, helplessly. 


" Exactly. The horse ! and you ! You see, the daughter 
has been found, but the horse has not" 

" But I can prove" 

" You can prove nothing. I know all about the affair. 
You carried Nellie Ewing away in your own carriage. 
You handed her pony over to an accomplice. I have, at my 
finger's ends, testimony enough to condemn you before any 
jury, and the only thing that can save you from the fate 
of a common horse-thief, is your own good behavior." 

" What do you want?" he said, abjectly. 

" I want to see you hung as high as Haman. But that 
poor girl in the next room wants something different, and 
I yield my wishes to hers. She is so foolish as to value 
your miserable existence, and so I give you this one chance. 
Go home with your wife, not to your home, but hers, and 
remain there so long as she needs or wants you. Treat 
her with tenderness, serve her like a slave, and try thus to 
atone for some of your past villainy. Quit your old as- 
sociates, be as decent and dutiful as the evil within will let 
you. So long as I hear no complaint, so long as your wife 
is made happy, you are safe. Commit one act of cruelty, 
unkindness, or neglect, and your fate is scaled. And, re- 
member this, if you attempt to run away, I will bring you 
back, if I have to bring you dead." 

He whined, he blustered, he writhed like a cur under 
the lash. But he was conquered. 'Squire Ewing behaved 
most judiciously. Poor Nelliewas foolishly happy. Mamie 

" I took him by the shoulders, and lifting him fairly off his feet 
shook him as a terrier shakes a rat." paee 379. 



Rutger, too, became our ally, and, after a time, La Porte, 
who loved his ease above all things, seemed resigned, or 
resolved to make the best of the situation. I think, too, 
that he was, in his way, fond of his poor little wife. Per- 
haps his conscience troubled him, for when a physician was 
called in by the anxious father, her case was pronounced 
serious, and the chances for her recovery less than three in 
ten. The physician advised them to take her North at 
once, and they hastened to obey his instructions. 

Our next care was to quiet Fred Brookhouse, for the 
present, and punish him, as much as might be, for the 

Accordingly, Brookhouse was arrested, on a trumped-up 
charge, and locked up in the city jail, and then Wyman 
and myself gave to the Chief of police and the Mayor of 
the city, a detailed account of his scheme to provide attrac- 
tions for his theater, and took other measures to insure for 
the Little Adelphi a closer surveillance than would be at 
all comfortable or welcome to the enterprising manager. 

Brookhouse was held in jail until we were out of the city, 
and far on our way Northward, thus insuring us against the 
possibility of his telegraphing the alarm to any one who 
might communicate it to Arch, or Ed. Dwight, and then, 
there being no one to appear against him, at the proper 
time, he was released. 

Amy Holmes remained a prisoner at the hotel, conduct- 
ing herself quite properly during the time of her com- 


pulsory sojourn there ; and on the day of our departure I 
paid her a sum equivalent to the week's salary she had lost, 
and bade her go her way, having first obtained her promise 
that she would not communicate with any of her accom- 
plices; a promise which I took good care to convince her 
it would be safest to keep. 

She was not permitted to see either Mamie or Nellie, and 
she had no desire to see the other members of the home- 
ward-bound party. And thus ended our case in New 




While Carnes was solving the Groveland problem, in 
that far-away Southern city, we, who were in Trafton, 
were living through a long, dull week of waiting. 

There were two dreary days of suspense, during which 
Carl Bethel and Dr. Denham wrestled with the deadly 
fever fiend, the one unconsciously, the other despairingly. 
But when the combat was over, the doctor stood at his post 
triumphant, and "Death, the Terrible," went away from 
the cottage without a victim. 

Then I began to importune the good doctor. 

" When would Bethel be able to talk ? at least to answer 
questions? For it was important that I should ask, and 
that he should answer one at least." 

I received the reward I might have expected had I been 
wise. "Our old woman" turned upon me with a tirade of 
whimsical wrath, that was a mixture of sham and real, 
and literally turned me out of doors, banished me three 
whole days from the sick room ; and so great was his as- 
cendancy over Jim Long, that even lie refused to listen to 
my plea for admittance, and kept me at a distance, with 

grim good nature. 

25 *17 


At last, however, the day came when " our old woman" 
signified his willingness to allow me an interview, stipulat- 
ing, however, that it must be very brief and in his presence. 

"Bethel is better," he said, eyeing me severely, "but he 
can't bear excitement. If you think you must interview 
him, I suppose you must, but mind, / think it's all bosh. 
Detectives are a miserable tribe through and through. Is 
not that so, Long ?" 

And Jim, who was present on this occasion, solemnly 
agreed with him. 

And so the day came when I sat by Bethel's bedside and 
held his weak, nerveless hand in my o\vn, while I looked 
regretfully at the pallid face, and into the eyes darkened 
and made hollow by pain. 

The weak hand gave mine a friendly but feeble pressure. 
The pale lips smiled with their old cordial friendliness, the 
eyes brightened, as he said : 

"Louise has told me how good you have been, you and 

"Stuff," interrupted Dr. Denham. "He good, indeed; 
stuff! stuff! Now, look here, young man, you can talk 
with my patient just five minutes, then out you go." 

" Very well," I retorted, " then see that you don't 
monopolize four minutes out of the five. Bethel, you may 
not be aware of it, but, that cross old gentleman and myself 
are old acquaintances, and, I'll tell you a secret, we, that 
is myself and some friends, " 

"And so the day came when I sat by Bethel's bedside and held 
his weak, nerveless hand in my own." page 3SG. 



" A rascally lot," broke in the old doctor, " a rascally 

"We call him," I persisted, "our old woman!" 

"Humph!" sniffed the old gentleman, "upstarts! 'old 
woman,' indeed !" 

But it was evident that he was not displeased with his 
nickname in the possessive case. 

We had judged it best to withhold the facts concerning 
our recent discoveries, especially those relating to his 
would-be assassin, from Bethel, until he should be better 
able to bear excitement. And so, after I had finished my 
tilt with the old doctor, and expressed my regret for 
Bethel's calamity, and my joy at his prospective recovery, 
I said : 

"I have been forbidden the house, Bethel, by your two 
dragons here, and now, I am only permitted a few moments' 
talk with you. So I shall be obliged to skip the details; 
you shall have them all soon, however. But I will tell you 
something. We are having things investigated here, and, 
for the benefit of a certain detective, I want you to answer 
me a question. You possess some professional knowledge 
which may help to solve a riddle." 

" What is your question ?" he whispers, with a touch of 
his natural decisiveness. 

"One night, nearly two weeks ago," I began, "you and 
I were about to renew an interview, which had been in- 
terrupted, when the second interruption came in the shape 


of a call, from 'Squire Brookhouse, who asked you to ac- 
company him home, and attend to his son, who, so he said, 
had received some sort of injury." 

"I remember." 

"Was your patient Louis Brookhouse?" 


"Did you dress a wound for him?" 

He looked at me wonderingly and was silent. 

"Bethel, I am tracing a crime; if your professional 
scruples will not permit you to answer me, I must find out 
by other means what you can easily tell me. But to resort 
to other measures will consume time that is most valuable, 
and might arouse the suspicions of guilty parties. You 
can tell me all that I wish to learn by answering my ques- 
tion with a simple 'Yes/ or 'No.' ' 

While Bethel continued to gaze wonderingly, my recent 
antagonist came to my assistance. 

"You may as well answer him, boy," " our old woman" 
said. "If you don't, some day he'll be accusing you of in- 
gratitude. And then this is one of the very rare instances 
when the scamp may put his knowledge to good use." 

Bethel looked from the doctor's face to mine, and smiled 

"I am overpowered by numbers," he said; "put your 
questions, then." 

"Did you dress a wound for Louis Brookhouse?" 



"A wound in the le<r?" 


" Yes, the riglit leg." 

"Was it a bullet wound?" 


" Did you extract the ball?" 

"I did." 

"Who has it?" 

"I. Nobody seemed to notice it. I put it in my 

"Brookhousc said that his wound was caused by an ac- 
cident, I suppose?" 

"Ye.-;, aa accidental discharge of his own pistol." 

" Some one had tried to dress the wound, had they not?" 

"Yes, it had been sponged and 

" And bound with a fine cambric handkerchief," I inter- 

" Yes," with a stare of surprise, " so it was." 

" How old was the wound, when you saw it ?" 

" Twenty-four hours, at least." 

"Was it serious?" 

" Xo ; only a flesh wound, but a deep one. He had 
ought to be out by this time." 

" Can you show me the bullet, sometime, if I wish to 
see it?" 

" Yes." 

My five minutes had already passed, but " our old 
woman" sat with a look of puzzled interest on his face, and 


as Bethel was quite calm, though none the less mystified, I 
took advantage of the situation, and hurried on. 

" Bethel, I want to ask you something concerning your 
own hurt, now. Will it disturb or excite you to answer?" 

" No ; it might relieve me." 

" This time I will save you words. On the night when 
you received your wound, you were sitting by your table, 
reading by the light of the student's lamp, and smoking 
luxuriously ; the door was shut, but the front window was 

"True!" with a look of deepening amazement. 

" You heard the sound of wheels on the gravel outside, 
and then some one called your name." 

"Oh!" a new look creeping into his eyes. 

" When you opened the door and looked out, could you 
catch a glimpse of the man who shot at you?" 

" No," slowly, as if thinking. 

" Have you any reason for suspecting any one? Can you 
guess at a motive?" 

"Wait;" he turned his head restlessly, seemingly in the 
effort to remember something, and then looked toward Dr. 

" In my desk," he said, slowly, " among some loose letters, 
is a yellow envelope, bearing the Trafton post-mark. 
Will you find it?" 

Dr. Denham went to the desk, and I sat silently wait- 
ing. Bethel was evidently thinking. 


" I received it," he said, after a moment of silence, dis- 
turbed only by the rustling of papers, as the old doctor 
searched the desk, " I received it two days after the search 
for little Effie Beale. I made up my mind then that I 
would have a detective, whom I could rely upon, here in 
Traftou. And then Dr. Barnard was taken ill. After 
that I waited have you found it?" 

Dr. Denham stood beside me with a letter in his hand, 
which Bethel, by a sign, bade him give to me. 

" Do you wish me to read it?" I asked. 

" Yes." 

I glanced at the envelope and almost bounded from my 
seat. Then, withdrawing the letter with nervous haste, I 
opened it. 

Dr. Bethel. If thai is your name, you are not welcome in Traf- 
ton. If you stay here three days longer, it will be AT YOUR OWN RISK. 

No resurrectionists. 

I flushed with excitement ; I almost laughed with de- 
light. I got up, turned around, and sat down again. I 
wanted to dance, to shout, to embrace the dear old doctor. 

I held in my hand a printed warning, every letter the 
counterpart of those used in the anonymous letter sent to 
" Chris Oleson" at Mrs. Ballou's ! It was a similar warn- 
ing, written by the same hand. Was the man who had 
given me that pistol wound really in Trafton ? or 

I looked up ; the patient on the bed, and the old doctor 


beside me, were both gazing at my tell-tale countenance, 
and looking expectant and eager. 

"Doctor," I said, turning to "our old woman," "you 
remember the day I came to you with my wounded 
arm ?" 

" Umph ! Of course." 

" Well, shortly before getting that wound I received just 
such a thing as this," striking the letter with my forefinger, 
"a warning from the same hand. And now I am going 
to find the man who shot mc } who shot Bethel, and who 
robbed the grave of little Effie Beale, here, in Trafton, 
and very soon." 

"What is it? I don't understand," began Bethel. 

But the doctor interposed. 

" This must be stopped. Bethel, you shan't hear ex- 
planations now, and you shall go to sleep. Bathurst, how 
dare you excite my patient ! Get out." 

"I will," I said, rising. "I must keep this letter, 
Bethel, and I will tell you all about it soon ; have 

Bethel turned his eyes toward the doctor, and said, 
eagerly : 

"Why did you call him Bathurst f 

"Did I?" said the old man/testily. "It was a slip of 
the tongue." 

The patient turned his head and looked from one to the 
other, eagerly. Then he addressed me : 


" If you will answer me one question, I promise not to 
ask another until you are prepared to explain." 

" Ask it," I replied. 

" Are you a detective ?" 


" Thank you," closing his eyes, as if weary. " I am 
quite content to wait. Thank you." 




My first movement, after having made the discovery 
chronicled in the last chapter, was to go to the telegraph 
office and send the following despatch: 

Anvst Blake Simpson instantly, on charge of attempted assass- 
ination. Don't allow him to communicate with any one. 

This message was sent to the Agency, and then I turned 
my attention to other matters, satisfied that Blake, at least, 
would be properly attended to. 

Early the following morning Gerry Brown presented 
himself at the door of my room, to communicate to me 
something that instantly roused me to action. 

At midnight, or a little later, Mr. Arch Brookhotise had 
dropped in at the telegraph office; he was in evening dress, 
and he managed to convey to Gerry in a careless fashion 
the information that he, Arch, had been enjoying himself 
at a small social gathering, and on starting for home had 
bethought himself of a message to be sent to a friend. 
Then he had dashed off the following: 

ED. DWIGHT, Amora, etc. 

Be ready for the party at the Corners to-morrow eve. Notify 
Lark. B. will join you at Amora. A. B. 


" There/' he had said, as lie pushed the message toward 
the seemingly .sleepy operator, " I hope he will get that in 
time, as I send it in behalf of a lady. Dwight's always in 
demand for parties." 

Then, with a condescending smile as he drew on his right 
glove, "Know anybody at Amora?" 

"No," responded Gerry, with a yawn, "nor anywhere 
else on this blasted line; wish they had sent me East." 

"You must get acquainted," said the gracious young 
nabob. "I'll try and get you an invitation to the next 
social party ; should be happy to introduce you." 

And then, as Gerry was too sleepy to properly appreciate 
his condescension, he had taken himself away. 

"Gerry," I said, after pondering for some moments 
over the message he had copied for my benefit, " I'm in- 
clined to think that this means business. You had better 
sleep short and sound this morning, ami be on hand at the 
office as early as twelve o'clock. I think you will be re- 
lieved from this sort of duty soon, and as for Mr. Brook- 
house, perhaps you may be able to attend this ( party' in 
question, even without his valuable patronage." 

After this I went in search of Jim Long. I found him 
at Bethel's cottage, and in open defiance of "our old 
woman," led him away where we could converse without 
audience or interruption. Then I put the telegram in his 
hand, telling him how it had been sent, much as Gerry 
had told the same to me." 


" What do you make of it ?" asked Jim, as he slowly 
folded the slip of paper and put it in my hand. 

"Well, I may be amiss in my interpretation, but it seems 
to me that we had better be awake to-night. The moon 
has waned ; it will be very dark at ten o'clock. I fancy 
that we may be wise if we prepare for this party. I don't 

know who B may stand for, but there is, at Clyde, a 

man, who is a friend of Dwight's, and whose name is 

" Larkins ! To be sure ; the man is often in Trafton." 

"Exactly. He appears like a good-natured rustic, but 
he is a good judge of a horse. Do you know of a place in 
this vicinity called The Corners?" 

" No." 

" Well, you are probably aware that the south road forks, 
just two miles north of Clyde, and that the road running 
east goes to the river, and the coal beds. It would not be 
a long drive from Amora to these corners, and Larkins is 
only two miles off from them. Both Dwight and Larkins 
own good teams." 

"Ah!" ejaculated Jim, in a tone which conveyed a world 
of meaning. "Ah, yes!" Then after a moment's si- 
lence, and looking me squarely in the face, " what do you 
want me to do ?" 

" Our movements must be regulated by theirs. AVe must 
see Warren and all the others." 



" Yes, all. It will not be child's play. I think Mr. 
Warren is the man to lead one party, for there must be 
two. I, myself, will manage the other. As for you and 

" Gerry ?" inquiringly. 

"Gerald Brown, our night operator. You will find him 
equal to most emergencies, I think." 

" And what are we to do ?" 

"Some special business which will depend on circum- 
stances. We must capture the gang outside of the town, 
if possible, and the farther away the better." 

" But" 

"Wait. There are others who must not take the alarm 
too soon." 

" They will ride fleet horses-, remember that." 

" Long," I said, earnestly, " we won't let them escape 
us. If they ride, we will pounce upon them at the very 
outset. But if my theory, which has thus far proven itself 
correct, holds good to the end they will not ride" 




It has conic at last ; that night, almost the last in August, 
which I and others, with varying motives and interests, 
have so anxiously looked forward to. 

It has come, and the moon, so lately banished from the 
heavens, had she been in a position to overlook the earth, 
would have witnessed some sights unusual to Trafton at 
the hour of eleven p. M. 

A little more than a mile from Trafton, at a point where 
the first mile section crosses the south road, not far from 
the Brookhouse dwelling, there is a little gathering of 
mounted men. They are seven in number ; all silent, all 
cautious all stern of feature. They have drawn their horses 
far into the gloom of the hedge that grows tall on either 
side, all save one man, and he stands in the very center of 
the road, looking intently north and skyward. 

Farther away, midway between Trafton and Clyde, six 
other horsemen are riding southward at an easy pace. 

These, too, are very quiet, and a little light would reveal 
the earnest faces of Messrs. Warren, Harding, Bcnner, 
Booth, Jaeger and Meacham ; the last mentioned being 


the owner of the recently stolen matched sorrels, and the 
others being the most prominent and reliable of the Trafton 

A close inspection would develop the fact that this mov- 
ing band of men, as well as the party whose present mission 
seems " only to stand and wait/' is well armed and strongly 

The Hill, Miss Manvers' luxurious residence, stands, as 
its name indicates, on an elevation of ground, at the extreme 
northern boundary of Trafton. 

It stands quite alone, this abode of the treasure-ship 
heiress, having no neighbors on either hand for a distance 
of more than a quarter of a mile. 

The road leading up the hill from the heart of Trafton, 
is bordered on either side by a row of shade trees, large 
and leafy. All about the house the shrubbery is dense, 
and the avenue, leading up from the road, and past the 
dwelling, to the barns and outhouses, is transformed, by 
two thickly-set rows of poplars into a vault of inky 

To-night, if the moon were abroad, she might note that 
the fine roadster driven by Arch Brookhouse had stood 
all the evening at the roadside gate at the foot of the dark 
avenue of poplars, and, by peeping through the open win- 
dows, she would see that Arch Brookhouse himself sits in 
the handsome parlor with the heiress, who is looking paleand 
dissatisfied, and who speaks short and seldom, opposite him. 



The lady moon might also note that the new telegraph 
operator is hot at his post, in the little office, at eleven 
o'clock p. M. But then, were the fair orb of night actually 
out, and taking observations, these singular phenomena 
might not occur. 

At half-past ten, on "this night of nights," three shadows 
steal through the darkness, moving northward toward 
the Hill. 

At a point midway between the town proper and the 
mansion beyond, is a junction of the roads; and here, at 
the four corners, the three shadows pause and separate. 

Two continue their silent march northward, and the 
third vanishes among the sheltering, low-bending branches 
of a gnarled old tree that overhangs the road, and marks 
the northwestern corner. 

At twenty minutes to eleven Arch Brookhouse takes 
leave of the treasure-ship heiress, and comes out into the 
darkness striding down the avenue like a man accustomed 
to the road. He unties the waiting horse which paws the 
ground impatiently, yet stands, obedient to his low com- 
mand, turns the head of the beast southward, seats him- 
self in the light buggy, lights a cigar, and then sits silently 
smoking, and waiting, for what? 

The dull red spark at the end of his cigar shines through 
the dark ; the horse turns his head and chafes to be away, 
but the smoker sits there, moveless and silent. 

Presently there comes a sound, slight but distinct; the 


crackling of a twig beneath a man's boot, and almost at 
the s.uue instant the last light disappears from the windows 
of the "Hill House." 

One, two, three. Three darks forms approach, one 
after the other,- each pauses for an instant beside the light 
buggy, and seems to look up to the dull red spark, which 
is all of Arch Brookhouse that is clearly visible through 
the dark. Then they enter the gate and are swallowed up 
in the blackness of the avenue. 

And now, a fourth form moves stealthily down the 
avenue after tlio others. It does not come from without 
the grounds, it starts out from the shrubbery within, and 
it is unseen by Arch Brookhouse. 

Plow still the night is ! The man who follows after the 
three first comers can almost hear his pulses throb, or so he 

Presently the three men pause before the door of the 
barn, and one of them takes from his pocket a key, with 
which he unlocks the door, and they enter. 

As soon as they are inside, a lantern is lighted, and 
the three men move together toward the rear of the barn, 
the part against which is piled a monstrous stack of 

Meanwhile the watcher outside glides close to the wall 
of the building, listening here and there, as he, too, ap- 
proaches the huge hay pile. 

And now he does a queer thing. He begins to pull 


away handfuls of liay from the bottom of the stack, where 
it is piled against the barn. He works noiselessly, and 
very soon has made an opening, into which he crawls. 
Evidently this mine has been worked before, for there is a 
long tunnel through the hay, penetrating to the middle of 
the stack. Here the watcher peeps through two small 
holes, newly drilled in the thick boards of the barn. And 
then a smile of triumph rests upon his face. 

He sees a compartment that, owing to the arrangement 
of the hay against the rear wall, is in the very heart of 
the barn, shut, from the gaze of curious eyes. On either 
side is a division, which our spy knows to contain a store 
of grain piled high, and acting as a complete non-conductor 
of sound. In front is a small room hung about with har- 
ness, and opening into a carriage room. The place is com- 
pletely hidden from the ordinary gaze, and only a very in- 
quiring mind would have fathomed its secret. 

The spy, who is peering in from his vantage ground 
among the hay, has fathomed the secret. And he now sees 
within six horses two bay Morgans, two roans, and two 

The three men are there, too, busily harnessing the six 
horses. They are working rapidly and silently. 

The watcher lingers just long enough to sec that the har- 
ness looks new and that it is of the sort generally used for 
draft horses, and then ho executes a retreat, more difficult 
than his entrance, inasmuch as he can not turn in his hay 

"He works noiselessly, and very soon has made an opening, into 
which he crawls. " parje 40 1. 



tunnel, but must withdraw by a series of retrograde move- 
ments more laborious than graceful. 

A moment more, and from among the poplars and ever- 
greens a light goes shooting up, high and bright against 
the sky ; a long, red ribbon of fire, that says to those who 
can read the 'sign, 

" The Trafton horse-thieves are about to move with their 
long-concealed prey. Meacham's matched sorrels, Hop- 
per's two-forty's, and the bay Morgans stolen from 'Squire 

It was seen, this fiery rocket, by the little band waiting 
by the roadside more than a m^e away. 

" There it is !" exclaims young Warren, who is the leader 
of this party " It is the red rocket. They are going with 
the wagons; it's all right, boys, we can't ride too fast 

The seven men file silently out from the roadside and 
gallop away southward. 

At the four corners, not far from the house on the hill, 
where, a short time before, a single individual had stationed 
himself, as a sentinel in the darkness, this signal rocket 
was also seen, and the watcher uttered an exclamation 
under his breath, and started out from underneath the tree 
that had sheltered him. 

He could never remember how it happened, but his next 
sensation was that of being borne to the ground, clutched 
with a tiger-like grip, crushed by a heavy weight. 


And then a voice, a voice that he had not heard for 
years, hissed above him, 

" Lie still, Joe Blaikie ! I've waited for this opportunity 
for eight long years, and it won't be worth your while to 
trifle with Harvey James now" 

And something cold and hard is pressed against the 
temple of the fallen sentinel, who does not need the evi- 
dence of the accompanying ominous click to convince him 
that it is a revolver in the hand of his deadliest foe. 

"You did not use to be a horse-thief, Joe," continues the 
voice, and the speaker's words are emphasized by the pres- 
sure of a knee upon his chjgf, and the weapon at his fore- 
head. "They could not trust you to do the fine business, 
it seems, and so you are picketed here to give the alarm if 
anything stirs up or down the road. If it's all right, you 
are to remain silent. If anything occurs to alarm you, you 
are to give the signal. Now, listen ; you are to get up and 
stand from under this tree. I i-hall stand directly behind 
you with my revolver at your head, and I shall not loosen 
my grip upon your collar. When your friends pass this 
way, you had better remain silent, Joe Blaikie." 

Arch Brookhouse, waiting at the avenue gate, has not 
seen the red rocket. The tall poplars that overshadow him 
have shut the shooting fiery ribbon from his vision; be- 
sides, he has been looking down the hill. Neither has he 
seen the form that is creeping stealthily toward him from 
behind the tree that guards the gate. 

" Lie still, Joe Blaikic! I've waited for this opportunity for eight 
long years, and it won't, be worth your while to trifle with Harvey 
James now." page 408. 



Those within the barn have not seen the rocket, of course ; 
and presently they come forth and harness the six horses 
to two huge wagons that stand in readiness. Four horses 
to one wagon, two to the other. The wheels are well oiled, 
and the wagons make no unnecessary rumbling as they go 
down the dark poplar avenue. 

At the gate the foremost wagon halts, just long enough 
to enable the driver to catch the low-spoken word that tells 
him it is safe to proceed. 

"All right," Arch Brookhouse says, softly, and the two 
wagons pass out and down the hill, straight through the 
village of Trafton. 

At the foot of the hill, where the four roads cross, the 
drivers peer through the darkness. Yes, their sentinel is 
there. The white handkerchief which he holds in his 
hand, as a sign that all is safe, gleams through the dark, 
and they drive on merrily, and if the sound of their wheels 
wakens any sleeper in Trafton, what then? It is not 
unusual to hear coal wagons passing on their way to the 

Should they meet a belated traveler, no matter. He 
may hear the rumble of the wheels, and welcome, so long 
as the darkness prevents him from seeing the horses that 
draw those innocent vehicles of traffic. 

Meanwhile, his duty being done, Arch Brookhouse heaves 
a sigh of relief, gathers up his reins, and chirrups to his 


But the animal does not obey him. Arch leans for- 
ward; is there something standing by the horse's head ? 
He gives an impatient word of command, and then, yes, 
there is some one there. 

Arch utters a sharp exclamation, and his hand goes be- 
hind him, only to be grasped by an enemy in the rear, 
who follows up his advantage by seizing the other elbow 
and saying: 

" Stop a moment, Mr. Brookhotise ; you are my prisoner, 
sir. Gerry, the handctiifs." 

The man at the horse's head comes swiftly to my assist- 
ance, Arch Brookhouse is drawn from his buggy, and his 
hands secured behind him by fetters of steel. Not a cap- 
tive to be proud of; his teeth chatter, he shivers as with 
an ague. 

"Wh who are you?" he gasps. " Wh what do you 

"I'm a city sprig," I answer, maliciously, "and I'm an 
easy fish to catch. But not so easy as you, my gay Lothario. 
By and by you may decide, if you will, whether I possess 
most money or brains ; now I have more important busi- 
ness on hand." 

Just then comes a long, low whistle. 

" Gerry," I say, "that is Long. Go down to him and 
see if he needs help." 

Gerry is off in an instant, and then my prisoner rallies 
his cowardly faculties, and begins to bluster. 


"What does this assault mean? I demand an explana- 
tion, sir!" 

"But I am not in the mood to give it," I retort. "You 
are my prisoner, and likely to remain so, unless you are 
stolen from me by Judge Lynch, which is not improbable." 

"Then, y you are an impostor!" 

"You mistake; I am a detective. You shot at the 
wrong man when you winged Bethel. You did better 
when you crippled widow Ballou's hired man." 

" What, are you ? " he starts violently, then checks his 

"I'm the man you shot, behind the hedge, Mr. Brook- 
house, and I'll trouble you to explain your conduct to- 

My prisoner moves restlessly under my restraining hand, 
but I cock my pistol, and lie comprehending the unspoken 
warning, stands silent beside his buggy. 

Presently I hear footsteps, and then Gerry comes towards 
me, lighting the way with a pocket lantern, which reveals to 
my gaze Dimber Joe, handcuffed and crest-fallen, marching 
sedately over the ground at the muzzle of a pistol held in 
the firm clutch of Jim Long, upon whose countenance sits 
a look of grim, triumphant humor. 

" Here," says Gerry, with aggravating ceremony, " is 
Mr. Long, with sentinel number two, namely: Mr. Dim- 
ber Joe Blaikie, late' of Sing Sing." 

" And very soon to return there," adds Jim Long, em- 


phatically. "What shall we do with these fellows?" 

" We must keep everything quiet to-night," I say, 
quickly. " If you and Gerry think you won't go to sleep 
over the precious scamps you might take them to the barn 
and let them pass the night where they have hidden so 
many horses. We will take them there now, and bind 
them more securely. Then one of you can look after them 
easily, while the other stands guard outside. All must be 
done quietly, so that they may not take the alarm in the 
house. If your prisoners attempt to make a noise, gag 
them without scruple." 

" But," gasps Brookhouse, " you can not ; you have no 

" No power," mocks Jim Long. " We'll see about that ! 
It may be unparliamentary, gentlemen, but you should not 
object to that. If you give us any trouble, we will con- 
vince you that we have inherited a little brief authority." 

Ten minutes later we have carried out our programme. 
The two prisoners are safely housed in the hidden asylum 
for stolen horses, with Jim Long as guard within, and 
Gerry as sentinel without, and I, seated in the light buggv 
from which I have unceremoniously dragged Arch Brook- 
house, am driving his impatient roadster southward, in the 
wake of the honest coal wagons. 




It is long past midnight. A preternatural stillness 
broods over the four corners where the north and south 
road, two miles north from Clyde, intersects the road run- 
ning east arid west, that bears westward toward the coal 
beds and the river. 

There are no houses within sight of these corners, and 
very few trees ; but the northeastern corner is bounded by 
what the farmers call a " brush fence," an unsightly barri- 
cade of rails, interwoven with tall, ragged, and brambly 
brush, the cuttings, probably, from some rank-growing 

The section to the southwest is bordered by a prim hedge, 
thrifty and green, evenly trimmed, and so low that a man 
could leap across it with ease. 

And now the silence is broken by the sound of wheels 
coming from the direction of Clyde; swift running wheels 
that soon bring their burden to the four corners, and then 
come to a sudden halt. 

It is a light buggy, none other than that owned by Mr. 
Lark ins, of Clyde, drawn by his roans that " go in no 
time.'' and it contains three men. 



"There!" says the driver, who is Lark ins himself, spring- 
ing to the ground, and thrusting his arm through the reins, 
"here we arc, with nothing to do but wait. We always do 
wait, you know." 

"Yes, I know," assents a second individual, descending 
to the ground in his turn. "We're always on time. Now, 
if a man only could smoke but he can't." 

And Ed. Dwight shrugs his shoulders and burrows in 
his pockets, and shuffles his feet, as only Ed. Dwight can. 

" Might's well get out, Briggs," says Larkins, to the man 
who still sits in the buggy. 

"Might's well stay here, too," retorts that individual, 
gruffly. " I'm comfortable." 

Larkins sniffs, and pats the haunch of the off roan. 

Dwight snaps a leaf from the hedge and chews it nerv- 

The man in the buggy sits as still as a mummy. 

Presently there comes again the sound of wheels. Not 
noisy wheels, that would break in upon midnight slum- 
bers, nor ghostly wheels, whose honesty might be called in 
question, but well oiled, smooth running wheels, that break 
but do not disturb the stillness. 

These also approach the cross roads, and then stop. 

The first are those of a coal wagon, drawn by four hand- 
some horses ; the second, those of a vehicle of the same 
description, drawn by two fine steeds. 

Two men occupy the first wagon ; one the next. 


As the foremost wagon pauses, Larkins tosses his reins 
to the silent man in the buggy, and advances, followed 
by D\vight. 

"Anything wrong?" queries Larkins. 

" Not if you are all right," replies a harsh voice, a voice 
that lias a natural snarl in it. 

"All right, Cap'n; give us your orders." 

The two men in the wa;ou spring; to the ground, and 

O _L O O / 

begin to unharness the foremost horses. The other wagon 

comes closer. 

"You and Briggs arc to take in these two teams. Tom 

is to go on with the Morgans. D wight is to take us back 

to Traftou," says the rasping voice. 

D wight comes closer, and then exclaims : 

"By George, Captain, it's you in person." 

"Yes, it's me," shortly. "Simpson failed to come, and 

I wanted to have a few words with you and Larkins. 

Hark! What's that?" 

Wheels again ; swift rushing, rattling wheels. Six 

heads are turned toward the north, whence they approach. 
Suddenly there is a whistle, short and shrill. 
Men are bounding over the low hedge to the left! Men 

are rising up from the long grass by the roadside! 
Oaths, ejaculations, crackingof pistols, plungingof horses 
"The first man who attempts to run will be shot down!" 
I hear these words, as I drive the Brookhouse roadster, 

foaming and panting, into the midst of the melee. 



In spite of the warning one man has made a dart for 
liberty, has turned and rushed directly upon my horse. 

In spite of the darkness his sharp eyes recognize the 
animal. What could his son's horse bring save a warning 
or a rescue? 

He regains his balance, which, owing to his sudden con- 
tact with the horse, he had nearly lost, and springs toward 
me as my feet touch the earth. 


Before he can realize the truth my hands are upon him. 
Before he can recover from his momentary consternation 
other hands seize him from behind. 

The captain of the horse-thieves, the head and front and 
brains of the band, is bound and helpless! 

It is soon over; the horse-thieves fight well ; strive hard 
to evade capture; but the attack is so sudden, so unex- 
pected, and they are unprepared, although each man, as a 
matter of course, is heavily armed. 

The vigilants have all the advantage, both of numbers 
and organization. While certain ones give all their at- 
tention to the horses, the larger number look to the prison- 

Briggs, the silent man in the buggy, is captured before 
he knows what has happened. 

Tom Briggs, his cowardly brother, is speedily reduced to 
a whimpering poltroon. 

Ed. Dwight takes to his heels in spite of the warning of 

"Men are bounding over the low hedge to the ieft! Men are 
rising up from the long grass by the roadside!" 417. 



Captain Warren, and is speedily winged with a charge of 
fine shot. It is not a severe wound, but it has routed his 
courage, and he is brought back, meek and pitiful enough, 
all the jauntincss crushed out of him. 

Larkins, my jehu on a former occasion, makes a fierce 
fight; and Louis Brookhouse, who still moves with a limp, 
resists doggedly. 

Our vigilants have received a few bruises and scratches, 
but no wounds. 

The struggle has been short, and the captives, once sub- 
dued, are silent and sullen. 

We bind them securely, and put them in the coal wagons 
which now, for the first time, perhaps, are put to a legiti- 
mate use. 

We do not care to burden ourselves with Larkins' 
roans, so they are released from the buggy and sent gallop- 
ing homeward. 

The bay Morgans, which have been "stolen" for the 
sake of effect, are again harnessed, as leaders of the four-in- 
hand. The vigilants bring out their horses from behind 
the brush fence, and the procession starts toward Trafton. 

No one attempts to converse with the captives. No one 
deigns to answer a question, except by a monosyllable. 

'Squire Brookhouse is wise enough to see that he can 
gain nothing by an attempt at bluster or bribery. He 
maintains a dogged silence, and the others, with the ex- 
ception of Dwight, who can not be still under any circum- 


stances, and Tom Briggs, who makes an occasional whimper- 
ing attempt at self-justification, which is heeded by no 
one, all maintain a dogged silence. And we move on at a 
leisurely pace, out of consideration for the tired horses. 

As we approach Trafton, the Summer sun is sending up 
his first streak of red, to warn our side of the world of his 
nearness; and young Warren reins his horse out from the 
orderly file of vigilants, who ride on either side of the 

He gallops forward, turns in his saddle to look back 
at us, waves his hat above his head, and then speeds away 
toward the village. 

I am surprised at this, but, as I look from one face to 
another, I see that the vigilants, some of them, at least, 
understand the movement, and so I ask no questions. 

I am not left long in suspense as to the meaning of 
young Warren's sudden leave-taking, for, as we approach 
to within a mile of Trafton, our ears are greeted by the 
clang of bells, all the bells of Trafton, ringing out a fiercely 
jubilant peal. 

I turn to look at 'Squire Brookhouse. He has grown 
old in an instant; his face looks ashen under the rosy day- 
light. The caverns of his eyes are larger and deeper, 
and the orbs themselves gleam with a desperate fire. His 
lifeless black locks flutter in the morning breeze. He looks 
forlorn and desperate. Thoseclanging bells are telling him 
his doom. 


Warren 1ms clone his work well. When we come over 
the hill into Trafton, we know that the news is there before 
us, for a throng has gathered in the street, although the 
hour is so early. 

The bells have aroused the people. The news that the 
Trafton horse-thieves arc captured at last, in the very act 
of escaping with their booty, has set the town wild. 

Not long since these same horse-thieves have led Trafton 
on to assault, to accuse, and to vilify an innocent man. 
Now, those who were foremost at the raiding of Bethel's 
cottage, are loudest in denouncing those who were then 
their leaders; and the cry goes up, 

" Hand over the horse-thieves ! Hand them out ! Lynch 
law's good enough for them !" 

But we are fourteen in number. We have captured the 
prisoners, and we mean to keep them. 

Once more my pistols, this time fully loaded, are raised 
against a Trafton mob, and the vigilants follow my ex- 

We guard our prisoners to the door of the jail, and then 
the vigilants post themselves as a wall of defence about the 
building, while Captain Warren sets about the easy task of 
raisinga trusty relief guard to take the places of his weary men. 

It is broad day now. The sun glows round and bright 
above the Eastern horizon. I am very weary, but there is 
work yet to be done. 

I leave Captain Warren at the door of the jail, and hasten 
toward the Hill. 




I am somewhat anxious about this coming bit of work, 
and a little reluctant as well, but it must be done, and that 

Just outside of the avenue gate I encounter a servant 
from the Hill House, and accost him. 

" Is Miss Manvers at home, and awake ?" 

"Yes, she is at home; she has been disturbed by the 
bells," and has sent him to inquire into the cause of the 

She does not know, then! I heave a sigh of relief and 
hurry on. 

I cross the avenue, and follow the winding foot-path 
leading up to the front entrance. I make no effort to see 
Jim or Gerry, at the barn ; I feel 'sure that they are equal 
to any emergency that may arise. 

Miss Manvers is standing at an open drawing-room 
window; she sees my approach and comes herself to admit 

Then we look at each other. 

She, I note, seems anxious and somewhat uneasy, and 

" Then the vigilants post themselves as a wall of defence about 
the building." page 423. 



she sees at a glance that I am not the jaunty, faultlessly- 
dressed young idler of past days, but a dusty, dishevelled, 
travel-stained individual, wearing, instead of the usual 
society smile, a serious and preoccupied look upon my 

"Miss Manvers/' I say, at once, "you will pardon my 
abruptness, I trust ; I must talk with you alone for a few 

She favors me with a glance of keen inquiry, and a look 
of apprehension crosses her face. 

Then she turns with a gesture of careless indifference, 
and leads the way to the drawing-room, where she again 
turns her face toward me. 

" I have before me an unpleasant duty," I begin again ; 
"I have to inform you that Arch Brookhouse has been 

A fierce light leaps to her eyes. 

"Zs- that all?" she questions. 

"The charge against him is a grave one," I say, letting 
her question pass unanswered. "He is accused of attemut- 
ed abduction." 

" Abduction !" she exclaims. 

" And attempted assassination/ 

"Assassination! ah, who?" 

"Attempt first, upon myself, in June last. Second at- 
tempt, upon Dr. Carl Bethel." 

A wrathful look crosses her face. 


"I wish they could hang him for it!" she says, vindic- 
tively. Then she looks me straight in the eyes. " Did 
you come to tell me this because you fancy that I care for 
Arch Brook house ?" she questions. 


" Why, then ?" 

" Because I am a detective, and it was my duty to 
come. There is more to tell you. 'Squire Brookhouse 
and his gang were arrested last night in the act of remov- 
ing stolen horses from your barn." 

Her face pales and she draws a long sighing breath, but 
she does not falter nor evince any other sign of fear. 

" So it has come," she says. " And now you are here to 
arrest me. I don't think I shall mind it much." 

" I have come to make terms with you, Miss Lowenstein, 
and it will be your fault if they are hard terms. I know 
your past history, or, at least " 

"At least, that I am a counterfeiter's daughter, and that 
I have served a term as a convict," she finishes, sarcas- 

" I know that you are the daughter of Jake Lowenstein, 
forger and counterfeiter. I know that you were ar- 
rested with him, as an accomplice; that immunity was 
offered you if you would testify against your father, the 
lawyers being sure that your evidence alone would easily 
convict him. I know that you refused to turn State's evi- 
dence; that you scoffed at the lawyers, and rather than raise 


your voice against your father, let them send you to prison 
for two years." 

"You know all this?" wonderingly. ''How did you 
find me out here?" 

" Before you were taken to prison, they took your picture 

I hesitate, but she does not. 

" For the rogue's gallery," she says, impatiently. " Well ! 
go on." 

"You were fiercely angry, and the scorn on your face 
was transferred to the picture." 

"Quite likely." 

" I had heard of your case, and your father's, of course. 
But I was not personally concerned in it, and I never saw 
him. I had never seen you, until I came to Trafton." 

" I have changed since then," she breaks in, quickly. 

"True; you were a slender, pretty young girl then. 
You are a handsome woman, now. Your features, how- 
ever, are not much changed ; yet probably, if I had never 
seen you save when your face wore its usual serene smile, 
I should never have found you out. But my comrade, 
who came to Trafton with me " 

" As your servant," she interposes. 

"As my servant; yes. He had your picture in his col- 
lection. On the day of your lawn party, I chanced to see 
you behind a certain rose thicket, in conversation with Arch 
Brookhouse. He was insolent; you, angry and defiant. 


I caught the look on your face, and knew that I had seen 
it before, somewhere. I wenthome puzzled, to find Carnes, 
better known to you as Cooley, looking at a picture in his 
rogue's gallery. I took the book and began turning its 
leaves, and there under my eye was your picture. Then I 
knew that Miss Manvers, the heiress, was really Miss Adele 

"You say that it will be my fault if you make hard 
terms with me. My father is dead. I suppose you under- 
stand that?" 

"Yes; I know that he is dead, but I do not know why 
you are here, giving shelter to stolen property and abbet- 
ting horse-thieves. Frankly, Miss Lowenstein, so far as 
your past is concerned, I consider you sinned against as 
much as sinning. Your sacrifice in behalf of your father 
was, in my eyes, a brave act, rather than a criminal one. 
I am disposed to be ever jour friend rather than your 
enemy. Will you tell me how you became connected with 
this gang, and all the truth concerning your relations with 
them, and trust me to aid you to the limit of my power ?" 

" You do not promise me my freedom if I give you this 
information," she says, more in surprise than in anxiety. 

" It is not in my power to do that and still do my duty 
as an officer; but I promise you, upon my honor, that you 
shall have your freedom if it can be brought about." 

" I like the sound of that," says this odd, self-reliant 
young woman, turning composedly, and seating herself near 


the open .window. " If you had vowed to give me my liberty 
at any cost I should not have believed you. Sit down ; I 
shall tell you a longer story than you will care to listen to 

I seat myself in obedience to her word and gesture, and 
she begins straightway : 

" I was seventeen years old when my father was arrested 
for. counterfeiting, and I looked even younger. 

" He had a number of confederates, but the assistant 
he most valued was the man whom people call 'Squire 
Brookhouse. He was called simply Brooks eight years 

" When my father was arrested, 'Squire Brookhouse, who 
was equally guilty, contrived to escape. He was a prudent 
-sharper, and both he and father had accumulated consider- 
able money. 

" If you know that my father and myself were sentenced 
to prison, he for twenty years, and I for two, you know, I 
suppose, how he escaped." 

"I know that he did escape; just how we need not 
discuss at present." 

"Yes; he escaped. Brookhouse used his money to 
bribe bolder men to do the necessary dangerous work, for 
he, Brookhouse, needed my father's assistance, and he es- 
caped. I had yet six months to serve. 

" Well, Brookhouse had recently been down into this 
country on a plundering expedition. He was an avaricious 


man, always devising some new scheme. He knew that 
without my father's assistance, he could hardly run a long 
career at counterfeiting, and he knew that counterfeiting 
would be dangerous business for my father to follow, in or 
near the city, after his escape. 

"They talked and schemed and prospected; and the re- 
sult was that they both came to Trafton, and invested a 
portion of their gains, the largest portion of course, in two 
pieces of real estate ; this and the Brookhouse place. 

" Before we had been here a year, my father grew ven- 
turesome. He went to the city, and was recognized by an 
old policeman, who had known him too well. They at- 
tempted to arrest him, but only captured his dead body; 
The papers chronicled the fact that Jake Lowenstein, the 
counterfeiter, was dead. And we, at Trafton, announced 
to the world that Captain Manvers, late of the navy, had 
been drowned while making his farewell voyage. 

"After that, I became Miss Manvers, the heiress, and 
the good Traftonites were regaled with marvelous stories 
concerning a treasure-ship dug out from the deep by my 
father, 'the sea captain.' 

" Their main object in settling in Trafton, was to pro- 
vide for themselves homes that mio-ht aiford them a haven 


should stormy times come. And, also, to furnish them 
with a place where their coining and engraving could be 
safely carried on. 

"Then the 'Squire grew more enterprising. He wanted 


more schemes to manage. And so he began to lay his plans 
for systematic horse-stealing. 

" Little by little he matured his scheme, and one by one 
he introduced into Trafton such men as would serve his 
purpose, for, if you inquire into the matter, you will find 
that every one of his confederates has pome to this place 
since the first advent of 'Squire Brookhouse. 

"The hidden place in our barn was prepared before my 
father was killed, and after that well, 'Squire Brook- 
house knew -that I could be a great help to him, socially. 

"I did not know what to do. This home was mine, I 
felt safe here ; I had grown up among counterfeiters and 
law-breakers, and I did not see how I was to shake myself 
free from them besides " 

Here a look of scornful self-contempt crosses her face. 

"Besides, I was young, and up to that time had seen 
nothing of society of my own age. Arch Brookhouse had 
lately come home from the South, and I had fallen in love 
with his handsome face." 

She lifts her eyes to mine, as if expecting to see her own 
self-scorn reflected back in my face, but I continue to look 
gravely attentive, and she goes on : 

" So Istayed on, and let them use my property asa hiding- 
place for their stolen horses. I kept servants of their se- 
lection, and never knew aught of their plans. When I 
heard that a horse had been stolen, I felt very certain that 
it was concealed on my premises, but I never investigated. 
28 *19 


" After a time I became as weary of Arch Brook house as 
he, probably, was of me. Finally indifference became detes- 
tation. He only came to my house on matters of business, 
and to keep up the appearance of friendliness between the 
two families. Mrs. Brookhouse is a long-suffering, broken- 
down woman, who never sees society. 

" I do not intend to plead for mercy, and I do not want 
pity. I dare say that nine-tenths of the other women in 
the world would have done as I did, under the same cir- 
cumstances. I have served two years in the penitentiary ; 
my face adorns the rogues' gallery. I might go out into 
the world and try a new way of living, but I must alwa\s 
be an impostor. Why not be an impostor in Trafton, as 
well as anywhere else? I have always believed that, some 
day, I should be found out." 




When she has finished her story there is a long silence, 
then she says, with a suddenness that would have been sur- 
prising in any other woman than the one before me: 

" You say you have arrested Arch Brookhouse for the 
shooting of Dr. Bethel. Tell me, is it true that Dr. Bethel 
is out of danger?" 

" He is still in a condition to need close attention and 
careful medical aid ; with these, we think, he will re- 

" I am very glad to know that," she says, earnestly. 

" Miss Lowenstein, I have some reason for thinking that 
you know who is implicated in that grave-robbing busi- 

" I do know," she answers, frankly, " but not from them. 
The Brookhouses, father and sons, believed Dr. Bethel to 
be a detective, and to be candid, so did I. You know 
'the wicked flee when no man pursueth.' They construed 
his reticence into mystery. They fancied that his clear, 
searching eye was looking into all their secrets. I knew 
they were plotting against him, but I had told Arch Brook- 


house that they should not harm him. When I went down 
to the cottage with Louise Barnard, I felt sure that it was 
their work, the grave-robbing. 

" Tom Briggs was there, the fiercest of the rioters. Tom 
had worked about my stable for a year or more, and I 
thought that I knew how to manage him. I contrived to 
get a word with him. Did you observe it?" 

"Yes, I observed it." 

" I told him to come to The Hill that evening, and he 
came. Then I made him tell me the whole story. 

" Arch Brookhouse had planned the thing, and given it 
to Briggs to execute. There were none of the regular 
members of the gang here to help him at that work, so 
he went, under instructions, of course, to Simmons and 
Saunders, two dissolute, worthless fellows, and told them 
that Dr. Bethel had offered him thirty dollars to get the 
little girl's body, and offered to share with them. 

" Those three did the work. Briggs buried the clothing 
and hid the tools. Then, when the raid began, Briggs told 
his two assistants that, in order to avoid suspicion, they 
must join the hue and cry against Dr. Bethel, and so, as 
you are aware, they did." 

This information is valuable to me. I am anxious to be 
away, to meet Simmons and Saunders. I open my lips to 
make a request, when she again asks a sudden question. 

" Will you tell me where and how you arrested the 
. Brookhouse gang ? I am anxious to know." 


" I will tell you, but first will you please answer one 
more question?" 

She nods and I proceed. 

" I have told you that Arch Brookhouse is charged with 
attempted abduction ; I might say Louis Brookhouse stands 
under the same charge. Do you know anything about 
the matter?" 

" I ? No." 

" Did you ever know Miss Amy Holmes?" 

"Never," she replies, emphatically. "Whom did they 
attempt to abduct?" 

" Three young girls ; three innocent country girls." 

" Good heavens!" she exclaims, her eyes flashing fiercely, 
" that is a deed, compared with which horse-thieving is 
honorable !" 

I give her a brief outline of the Groveland affair, or 
series of affairs, so far as I am able, before having heard 
Carries' story. And then I tell her how the horse-thieves 
were hunted down. 

"So," she says, wearily, "by this time I am known all 
over Trafton as the accomplice of horse-thieves." 

" Not so, Miss Lowenstein. The entire truth is known 
to Carnes and Brown, the two detectives I have mentioned, 
to Jim Long, and to Mr. Warren. The vigilants knew 
that the horses had been concealed near Trafton, but, owing 
to the manner in which the arrests were made, they do not 
know where. I suppose you are aware what it now be- 
comes my duty to do?". 


"Assuredly," with constrained voiceand manner. "You 
came here to arrest me. I submit." 

" Wait. From first to last it has been my desire to deal 
with you as gently as possible. Now that I have heard 
your story, I am still more inclined to stand your friend. 
The three men in Trafton who know your complicity in this 
business, are acting under my advice. For the present, you 
may remain here, if you will give me your promise not to 
attempt an escape." 

" I shall not try to escape ; I would be foolish to do so, 
after learning how skillfully you can hunt down criminals." 

" Thanks for the compliment, and the promise implied. 
If you will give your testimony against the gang, telling in 
court the story you have told me, you shall not stand be- 
fore these people without a champion." 

" I don't like to do it. It seems cowardly." 

"Why ? Do you think they would spare you were the 
positions reversed?" 

" No, certainly not ; but " turning her eyes toward the 
foliage without, and speaking wistfully, "I wish I knew 
how another woman would view my position. I never had 
the friendship of a woman who knew me as I am. I wish 
I knew how such a woman as Louise Barnard would ad- 
vise me." 

Scarcely knowing how to reply to this speech, I pass it 
by and hasten to finish my own. 

Will she remain in her own house until I see her again, 

" I wish I knew how such a woman as Louise Barnard would ad- 
vise me." page 438. 



which may not be until to-morrow ? And will she permit 
me to leave Gerry Brown here, for form's sake? 

Jim Long would hardly question my movements and 
motives, but Mr. Warren, who is the fourth party in our 
confidence, might. So, for his gratification, I will leave 
Gerry Brown at the Hill. 

She consents readily enough, and I go out to fetch Gerry. 

" Miss Lowenstein, this is my friend, Gerry Brown, who 
has passed the night in your barn and in very bad com- 
pany. Will you take pity on him and give him some 
breakfast?" I say, as we appear before her. 

She examines Gerry's handsome face attentively, and 
then says: 

"If your late companions were bad, Mr. Brown, you 
will not find your present company much better. You do 
look tired. I will give you some breakfast, and then you 
can lock me up." 

"I'll eat the breakfast with relish," replies Gerry, 
gallantly; "but as for locking you up, excuse me. I've 
been told that you would feed me and let me lie down 
somewhere to sleep; and I've been ordered to stay here 
until to-morrow. It looks to me as if I were your pris- 
oner, and such I prefer to consider myself." 

I leave them to settle the question of keeper and pris- 
oner as best they can, and go out to Jim. 

He is smoking placidly, with Arch Brookhouse, in a fit 
of the sulks, sitting on an overturned peck measure near 


by, and Dimber Joe asleep on a bundle of hay in a corner. 

We arouse Dim bur and casting off the fetters from their 
feet, set them marching toward the town jail, where their 
brethren in iniquity are already housed. 

Trafton is in a state of feverish excitement. As we 
approach the jail with our prisoners the air is rent with 
jeers and hisses for them, and "three cheers for the de- 
tective," presumably for me. 

I might feel flattered and gratified at their friendly 
enthusiasm, but, unfortunately for my pride, I have had 
an opportunity to learn how easily Trafton is excited to 
admiration and to anger, so I bear my honors meekly, and 
hide my blushing face, for a time, behind the walls of the 

All the vigilants are heroes this morning, and proud 
and happy is the citizen who can adorn his breakfast table 
with one of the band. The hungry fellows, nothing loath, 
are borne away one by one in triumph, and Jim and I, who 
cling together tenaciously, arc wrangled over by Justice 
Summers and Mr. Harris, and, finally, led off by the 

We are not bored with questions at the parsonage, but 
good, motherly Mrs. Harris piles up our plates, and looks 
on, beaming with delight to see her good things disappear- 
ing down our hungry throats. 

We have scarcely finished our meal, when a quick, light 
step crosses the hall, and Louise Barnard enters. She lias 


hoard the clanging bells and witnessed the excitement, but, 
as yet, scarcely comprehends the cause. 

"Mamma is so anxious/' she says, deprecatingly, to Mr. 
Harris, "that I ran in to ask you about it, before going 
down to see Carl Dr. Bethel." 

While she is speaking, a new thought enters my head, 
and I say to myself instantly, "here is a new test for 
Christianity/' thinking the while of that friendless girl at 
this moment a paroled prisoner. 

"Miss Barnard," I say, hastily, "it will give me pleasure 
to tell you all about this excitement, or the cause of it." 

" If I understand aright, you are the cause, sir," she re- 
plies, smilingly. "How horribly you have deceived us 
all !" 

" But," interposes Mr. Harris, " this is asking too much, 
sir. You have been vigorously at work all night, and 

" Never mind that," I interrupt. " Men in my profes- 
sion are bred to these things. I am in just the mood for 
story telling." 

They seat themselves near me. Jim, a little less in- 
terested than the rest, occupying a place in the background. 
Charlie Harris is away at his office. I have just the au- 
dience I desire. 

I begin by describing very briefly my hunt for the Traf- 
ton outlaws. I relate, as rapidly as possible, the manner 
in which they were captured, skipping details as much as I 


can, until I arrive at the point where I turn from the Traf- 
ton jail to go to The Hill. 

Then I describe my interview with the counterfeiter's 
daughter minutely, word for word as nearly as I can. I 
dwell on her look, her tone, her manner, I repeat her words: 
" I wish I knew how another woman would view my posi- 
tion. I wish I knew how such a woman as Louise Bar- 
nard would advise me." I omit nothing; I am trying to 
win a friend for Adele Lowenstein, and I tell her story as 
well as I can. 

When I have finished, there is profound silence for a 
full moment, and then Jim Long says: 

" I know something concerning this matter. And I am 
satisfied that the girl has told no mdre and no less than the 

I take out a pocket-book containing papers, and select 
one from among them. 

" This," I say, as I open it, " is a letter from the Chief 
of our force. He is a stern old criminal-hunter. I will 
read you what he says in regard to the girl we have known 
as Adele Manvers, the heiress. Here it is." 

And I read: 

In regard to Adele Lowenstein, I send you the papers and copied 
reports, as you request; but let me say to you, deal with her as mer- 
cifully as possible. There should be much good in a girl who would 
go to prison for two long years, rather than utter one word disloyal 
to her counterfeiter father. Those who knew her best, prior to 
that affair, consider her a victim rather than a sinner. Time may 


have hardened her nature, but, if there are any extenuating circum- 
stances, consider how she became what she is, and temper justice 
with mercy. 

" There," 1 say, as I fold away the letter, " that's a 
whole sermon, coming from our usually unsympathetic 
Chief. Mr. Harris, I wish you would preach another of 
the same sort to the Traftonites." 

Still the silence continues. Mr. Harris looks serious and 
somewhat uneasy. Mrs. Harris furtively wipes away a 
tear with the corner of her apron. Louise Barnard sits 
moveless, for a time, then rises, and draws her light Sum- 
mer scarf about her shoulders with a resolute gesture. 

" I am going to see Adele," she says, turning toward the 

Mr. Harris rises hastily. He is a model of theological 

" But, Louise, ah, don't be hasty, I beg. Really, it is 
not wise." 

" Yes, it is," she retorts. " It is wise, and it is right. I 
have eaten her bread; I have called myself her friend ; I 
shall not abandon her now." 

" Neither shall I !" cries Mrs. Harris, bounding up with 
sudden energy. " I'll go with you, Louise." 

" But, my dear," expostulates Mr. Harris, " if you 
really insist, I will go first ; then, perhaps " 

u No, you won't go first," retorts his better half. "You 
don't know what that poor girl needs. You'd begin at 


once to administer death-bed consolation. That will do 
for 'Squire Brookhouse, but not for a friendless, unhappy 
girl. Take your foot off my dress, Mr. Harris ; I'm going 
for my bonnet !" 

She conquers, of course, gets her bonnet, and ties it on 

During the process, I turn to Jim. 

" Long," I say, " we have yet one task to perform. Dr. 
Denham is on duty at the cottage, and fretting and fuming, 
no doubt, to know the meaning of all this storm in Traf- 
ton. Bethel, too, may be anxious " 

"Now, hear him !" interrupts our hostess, indignantly. 
" Just hear that man ! As if you were not both tired to 
death already. You two are to stay right here ; one in the 
parlor bed, and one in Charlie's room ; and you're to sleep 
until dinner, which I'll be sure to have late. Mr. Harris 
can run down to the cottage and tell all the news. It will 
keep him from going where he is not wanted." 

Mr. Harris warmly seconds this plan. Jim and I are 
indeed weary, and Mrs. Harris is an absolute monarch. 
So we submit, and I lay my tired head on her fat pillows, 
feeling that everything is as it should be. 




It is late in the afternoon when I awake, for Mrs. Har- 
ris has been better than her word. 

Jim is already up, and conversing with Mr. Harris on 
the all-absorbing topic, of course. 

After a bountiful and well-cooked dinner has received 
our attention, Jim and I go together to the cottage. 

Here we are put upon the witness stand by " our old 
woman," who takes ample vengeance for having been kept 
so long in the dark concerning my business in Trafton. 

After he has berated us to his entire satisfaction, and 
after Bethel, who, having heard a little, insists upon hear- 
ing more, has been gratified by an account of the capture, 
given for the most part by Jim Long, we go southward 
again and come to a halt in Jim's cottage. Here we seat 
ourselves, and, at last, I hear the story of Jim Long, or the 
man who has, for years, borne that name. 

" My name is Harvey James," he begins, slowly. " My 
father was a farmer, and I was born upon a farm, and lived 
there until I became of age. 


" Except two years passed at a college not far from my 
home, I had never been a week away from my father's 
farm. But after my twenty-first birthday, I paid a visit 
to the city. 

" It was short and uneventful, but it unsettled me. I was 
never content upon the home farm again. 

"After my father died and the property came into my 
possession, I resolved to be a farmer no longer, but to go 
and increase my fortune in the city. 

" My farm was large and val liable, and there was con- 
siderable money in the bank. My mother clung to the 
farm; so, as the house was a large one, I reserved for her 
use, and mine when I should choose to come home, a few 
of the pleasantest rooms, and put a tenant into the remain- 
der of the house. 

" I was engaged to be married to a dear girl, the daughter 
of our nearest neighbor. She was pretty and ambitious. 
She heartily approved of my new departure, but when 
I urged our immediate marriage, she put the matter off, 
saying tjiat she preferred to wait a year, as by that time 
I should be a city gentleman ; and until I should have 
become established in business, I would have no time 
to devote to a rustic wife. If she had married me 
then, my fate might have been different, God knows ! Bui 
I went to the city alone, and before the year had elapsed I 
was in a prison cell ! 

" I took with me a considerable sum of money, and I 


commenced to enjoy city life. I began with the theaters 
and billiards, and went on down the grade. Before I had 
been in town a month I became acquainted with Brooks, 
the name then used by 'SquireBrookhouse. He professed 
to be a lawyer, and this profession, together with his supe- 
rior age, won my confidence, as, perhaps, a younger man 
could not have done. After a time he made me ac- 
quainted with Joe Blaikie and Jake Lowenstein, both bro- 
kers, so he said. 

"I was an easy victim; I soon began to consult the 
* brokers' as to the best investment for a small capital. 

" Of course they were ready to help me. I think I need 
not enter into details ; you know how such scoundrels work. 
We soon became almost inseparable, and I thought myself 
in excellent company, and wrote glowing letters to my 
mother and sweetheart, telling them of my fine new friends 
and the promising prospect for a splendid investment, which 
was to double my money speedily, and laying great stress 
upon the fact that my prospective good fortune would be 
mainly brought about by my ' friends,' the lawyer and the 
brokers, who 'knew the ropes.' 

"At last the day came when I drew a considerable sum 
of money from my home bankers, to invest in city stock. 
The 'brokers' strongly advised me to put in all I could 
command, even to the extent of mortgaging my farm, but 
this I would not do. I adhered to my stern old father's 
principle, ' never borrow money to plant,' and I would not 



encumber my land ; but I drew every dollar of my ready 
capital for the venture. 

"I had established myself in comfortable rooms at a 
hotel, which, by-the-by, was recommended me by Brooks, 
as a place much frequented by ' solid men.' And soon the 
three blacklegs began dropping in upon me evenings, some- 
times together, sometimes separately. We would then 
amuse ourselves with ' harmless' games of cards. After a 
little we began to bet chips and coppers, to make the game 
more interesting. 

"They worked me with great delicacy. No doubt they 
could have snared me just as easily with half the troubje 
they took. I was fond of cards, and it was not difficult to 
draw me into gambling. I had learned to drink wine, 
too, and more than once they had left me half intoxicated 
after one of our 'pleasant social games,' and had laughingly 
assured me, when, after sobering up, I ventured a clumsy 
apology, that 'it was not worth mentioning; such things 
would sometimes happen to gentlemen.' 

"On the night of my downfall I had all my money 
about my person, intending to make use of it early on the 
following morning. I expected the three to make an even- 
ing in my room, but at about eight o'clock Lowenstein 
came in alone and looking anxious. 

" He said that he had just received a telegram from a 
client who had entrusted him with the sale of a large block 
of buildings, and he must go to see him that evening. It 


was a long distance, and he would be out late. He had 
about him a quantity of gold, paid in to him after banking 
hours, and he did not like to take it with him. He wanted 
to leave it in my keeping, as he knew that I intended pass- 
ing the evening in my rooms, and as he was not afraid to 
trust me with so large a sum. 

" I took the bait, and the money, three rouleaux of gold ; 
and then, after I had listened to his regrets at his inability to 
make one at our social game that evening, I bowed him out 
and locked the door. 

"As I opened my trunk and secreted the money in the 
very bottom, underneath a pile of clothing and books, I 
was swelling with gratified vanity, blind fool that I was, 
at the thought of the trust imparted to me. Did it not 
signify the high value placed upon my shrewdness and in- 
tegrity by this discriminating man of business? 

" Presently Brooks and Blaikie came, and we sat down 
to cards and wine. Blaikie had brought with him some 
bottles of a choice brand, and it had an unusual effect upon 

"My recollections of that evening are very indistinct. 
I won some gold pieces from Brooks, and jingled them trium- 
phantly in my pockets, while Blaikie refilled my glass. 
After that my remembrance is blurred and then blank. 

"I do not think that I drank as much wine as usual, for 
when I awoke it was not from the sleep of intoxication. 
I was languid, and my head ached, but my brain was not 


clouded. My memory served me well. I remembered, 
first of all, my new business enterprise, and then recalled 
the events of the previous evening, up to the time of my 
drinking a second glass of wine. 

"I was lying upon my bed, dressed, as I had been when 
I sat down to play cards with Brooks and Blaikie. I 
strove to remember how I came there on the bed, but 
could not; then I got up and looked about the room. 

"Our card table stood there with the cards scattered 
over it. On the floor was an empty wine-bottle where 
was the other, for Blaikie had brought two? On a side 
table sat two wine-glasses, each containing a few drops of 
wine, and a third which was clean, as if it had been un- 

"Two chairs stood near the table, as if lately occupied 
by players. 

"What did it mean? 

"I stepped to the door and found that it had not been 
locked. Then I thought of my money. It was gone, of 
course. But I still had in my pockets the loose gold won 
at our first game, and the three rouleaux left by Lowen- 
stein were still in my trunk. I had also won from Brooks 
two or three bank notes, and these also I had. 

"You can easily guess the rest. The three sharpers had 
planned to secure my money, and had succeeded ; and to 
protect themselves, and get me comfortably out of the way. 
they had laid the trap into which I fell. 


"Blaikie appeared at the police station, and entered his 
complaint. He had been invited to join in a social game 
of cards at my rooms. When he arrived there, Brooks 
was there, seemingly on business, but he had remained but 
a short time. Then we had played cards, and Blaikie had 
lost some bank-notes. Next he won, and I had paid him 
in gold pieces. He had then staked his diamond studs, as 
lie had very little money about him. These I had won, 
and next had permitted him to win a few more gold pieces. 
Blaikie did not accuse me of cheating, oh, no ; but he had 
just found that I had won his diamonds and his honest 
money, and had paid him in counterfeit coin. 

"At that time, Blaikie had not become so prominent a 
rogue as he now is. His story was credited, and, while 
I was yet frantically searching for my lost money, the 
police swooped down upon me, and I was arrested for hav- 
ing circulated counterfeit money. The scattered cards, the 
two wine-glasses, the two chairs, all substantiated Blaikie's 

"A search through my room brought to light Blaikie's 
diamonds, and some plates for engraving counterfeit ten 
dollar bills, hidden in the same receptacle. In my trunk 
were the three rouleaux of freshly-coined counterfeit gold 
pieces, and in my pockets were some more loose counter- 
feit coin, together with the bank-notes which Blaikie had 
described to the Captain of police. 

"It was a cunning plot, and it succeeded. I fought for 


my liberty as only a desperate man will. I told my story. 
I accused Blaikie and his associates of having robbed me. 
I proved, by my bankers, that a large sum of money had 
actually come into my possession only the day before my 
arrest. But the web held me. Brooks corroborated Blaikie'a 
statements; Lowenstein could not be found. 

" I was tried, found guilty, and condemned for four 
years to State's prison. A light sentence, the judge pro- 
nounced it, but those four years put streaks of gray in my 
hair and changed me wonderfully, physically and men- 

"I had gone in a tall, straight young fellow, with beard- 
less face and fresh color; I came out a grave man, with 
stooping shoulders, sallow skin, and hair streaked with 

" My mother had died during my imprisonment; my 
promised wife had married another man. I sold my farm and 
went again to the city; this time with a fixed purpose in 
my heart. I would find my enemies and revenge my- 

" I let my beard grow, I dropped all habits of correct 
speaking, I became a slouching, shabbily-dressed loafer. I 
had no reason to fear recognition, the change in me was 

He paused, and seemed lost in gloomy meditations, then 

" It was more than three months before I struck the 


trail of the gang, and then one day I saw Brooks on the 
street, followed him, and tracked him to Trafton. He had 
just purchased the ' Brpokhouse farm' and I learned for 
the first time that he had a wife and family. I found that 
Lowenstein, too, had settled in Trafton, having been ar- 
rested, and escaped during my long imprisonment; and I 
decided to remain also. I had learned, during my farm 
life, something about farriery, and introduced myself as a 
traveling horse doctor, with a fancy for 'settling' in a good 
location. And so I became the Jim Long you have 

" I knew that the presence of ' 'Squire Brookhouse' and 
' Captain Manvers, late of the navy,' boded no good to 
Trafton; I knew, too, that Lowenstein was an escaped con- 
vict, and I might have given him up at once; but that 
would have betrayed my identity, and Brooks might then 
escape me. So I waited, but not long. 

"One day 'Captain Manvers,' in his seaman's make-up, 
actually ventured to visit the city. Pie had so changed his 
appearance that, but for my interference, he might have 
been safe enough. But my time had come. I sent a tele- 
gram to the chief of police, telling him that Jake Lowen- 
stein was coming to the city, describing his make-up, and 
giving the time and train. I walked to the next station 
to send the message, waited to have it verified, and walked 
back content. 

" When Jake Lowenstein arrived in the city, he was 


followed, and in attempting to resist the officers, he was 

"Since that time, I have tried, and tried vainly, to un- 
ravel the mystery surrounding these robberies. Of course, 
I knew Brooks and his gang to be the guilty parties, but 
I was only one man. I could not be everywhere at once, 
and I could never gather sufficient evidence to insure their 
conviction, because, like all the rest of Trafton, I never 
thought of finding the stolen horses in the very midst of 
the town. I assisted in organizing the vigilants, but we 
all watched the roads leading out from the town, and were 
astounded at our constant failures. 

" And now you know why I hailed your advent in Trafton. 
For four years I have hoped for the coming of a detective. 
I would have employed one on my own account, but I 
shrank from betraying my identity, as I must do in order 
to secure confidence. In every stranger who came to Trafton 
I have hoped to find a detective. At first I thought Bethel 
to be one, and I was not slow in making his acquaintance. 
I watched him, I weighed his words, and, finally, gave 
him up. 

"When you came I made your acquaintance, as I did 
that of every stranger who tarried long in Trafton. You 
were discreetness itself, and the man you called Barney was 
a capital actor, and a rare good fellow too. But I studied 
you as no other man did. When I answered your careless 
questions I calculated your possible meaning. Do you 


remember a conversation of ours when I gave my opinion 
of Dr. Bethel, and the 'average Traftonite'V" 

"Yes; and also told us about Miss Manvers and the 
treasure-ship. Those bits of gossip gave us some painters." 

"I meant that they should. And now you know why I 
preferred to hang on the heels of Joe Blaikie rather than 
go with the vigilants." 

" I understand. Has Blaikie been a member of the gang 
from the first?" 

" I think not. Of course when I heard that Brooks in- 
tended to employ a detective, I was on the alert. And 
when Joe Blaikie and that other fellow, who was a stranger 
to me, came and established themselves at the Trafton 
House, I understood the game. They were to personate 
detectives. Brooks was too cunning to make their preten- 
ded occupations too conspicuous; but he confided the secret 
to a few good citizens who might have grown uneasy, and 
asked troublesome questions, if they had not been thus 
confided in. I think that Blaikie and Brooks went their 
separate ways, when the latter became a country gentle- 
man. Blaikie is too cowardly a cur ever to succeed 
as a horse-thief, and Brooks was the man to recognize 
that fact. I think Blaikie was simply a tool for this 

"Very probable. When you told my landlord that 
Blaikie was a detective, did you expect the news to reach 

me through him ?" 



"I did," with a quizzical glance at me; "and it reached 
you, I take it." 

"Yes; it reached me. And now, Long it seems most 
natural to call you so I will make no comments upon your 
story now. I think you are assured of my friendship and 
sympathy. I can act better than I can talk. But be sure 
of one thing, from henceforth you stand clear of all charges 
against you. The man who shot Dr. Bethel is now in 
limbo, and he will confess the whole plot on the witness 
stand ; and, as for the old trouble, Joe Blaikie shall tell 
llh 1 rtuh concerning that." 

He lifts his head and looks at me steadfastly for a mo- 

"When that is accomplished," he says, earnestly, "I 
shall feel myself once more a man among men." 




There was a meeting of the vigilants that night and 
Gerry Brown, Mr. Harris, Justice Summers and myself, 
were present with them. 

I gave them the details of my investigation, and related 
the cause of Doctor Bethel's troubles. When they under- 
stood that the outlaws had looked upon Bethel as a de- 
tective, and their natural enemy, the vigilants were ready 
to anticipate the rest of my story. 

When everything concerning the male members of the 
clique had been discussed, I entered a plea for Adele Lowen- 
stein, and my audience was not slow to respond. 

Mr. Harris arose in his place, and gave a concise ac- 
count of the visit paid by his wife and Miss Barnard to 
the dethroned heiress, as he had heard it described by Mi's. 

Adele Lowenstein had been sincerely grateful for their 
kindncs=, and had consented to act precisely as they should 
advise, let the result be what it would. She would give 
her testimony against the horse-thieves, and trust to the 
mercy of the Traftonites. Her story may as well be com- 
pleted here, for there is little more to tell. 


She was not made a prisoner. Mrs. Harris and Louise 
Barnard were not the women to do things by halves. They 
used all their influence in her favor, and they had the 
vigilants and many of the best citizens to aid them. Thej- 
disarmed public opinion. They appealed to men high in 
power and won their championship. They conducted their 
campaign wisely and they carried the day. 

There were found for Adele Lowenstein, the counter- 
feiter's daughter, "extenuating circumstances:" what the 
jury could not do thegovernor did, and she went out from 
the place, where justice had been tempered with mercy, a 
free woman. 

The Hill was sold, and Miss Lowenstein, who had 
avowed her intention of retaking her father's name, sullied 
as it was, prepared to find a new home in some far away 

One day while the trial was pending, Gerry Brown 
came to me with fidgety manner and serious counten- 

"Old man," he said, anxiously, "I've been thinking 
about Miss Loweustein." 

"Stop it, Gerry. It's a dangerous occupation for a 
fellow of your age." 

"My, age indeed! Two years, four months and seven- 
teen days younger than your ancient highness, I be- 

" A man may learn much in two years, four months, and 


seventeen days , Gerry. What about Miss Lowenstein ?" 

"I'm sorry for the girl." 

"So am I." 

"Don't be a bore, old man." 

"Then come to the point, youngster." 

"Youngster!" indignantly, "well, I'll put that to our 
private account. About Miss Lowenstein, then: She is 
without friends, and is just the sort of woman who needs 
occupation to keep her out of mischief and contented. She's 
ladylike and clever, and she knows the world; don't you 
think she would be a good hand on the force." 

I paused to consider. I knew the kind of woman that we 
sometimes needed, and it seemed to me that Adele Lowen- 
stein would " be a good hand." I knew, too, that our 
Chief was not entirely satisfied with one or two women in 
his employ. So I stopped chaffing Gerry and said sober- 


"Gerry, it's a good idea. We'll consult the lady and if 
she would like the occupation, I will write to our Chief." 

Adele Lowenstein was eager to enter upon a career so 
much to her taste, and our Chief was consulted. He 
manifested a desire to see the lady, and she went to the 

The interview was satisfactory to both. Adele Lowen- 
stein became one of our force, and a very valuable and 
efficient addition she proved. 

I had assured Jim Long, even yet I find it difficult to 


call him Harvey James, that his name should be freed 
from blot or suspicion. And it was not so hard a task as 
he evidently thought it. 

Blake Simpson, like most scamps of his class, was only 
too glad to do anything that would lighten his own. sen- 
tence, and when he found that the Brookhouse faction had 
come to grief, and that his own part in their plot had 
been traced home to him by "the detectives," he weakened 
at once, and lost no time in turning State's evidence. He 
confessed that he had come to Trafton, in company with 
Dimber Joe, to" play detective," at the instigation, and under 
the pay of Brookhouse senior, who had visited the city to 
procure their services. And that Arch Brookhouse had 
afterward bribed him to make the assault upon Bethel, and 
planned the mode of attack; sending him, Simpson, to Ire- 
ton, and giving him a note to the elder Briggs, who fur- 
nished him with the little team and light buggy, which 
took him back to Trafton, where the shooting was done 
precisely as I had supposed after my investigation. 

Dimber Joe made a somewhat stouter resistance, and I 
offered him two alternatives. 

He might confess the truth concerning the accusations 
under which Harvey James had been tried and wrongfully 
imprisoned; in which case I would not testify against him 
except so far as he had been connected with the horse-thieves 
in the capacity of sham detective and spy. Or, he might 
refuse to do Harvey James justice, in which case I would 


put Brooks on the witness stand to exonerate James, and I 
myself would lessen his chances for obtaining a light sen- 
tence, by showing him up to the court as the villain he was; 
garroter, panel-worker, counterfeiter, burglar, and general 
utility rascal. 

Brooks or Brookhouse was certain of a long sentence, I 
assured Blaikie, and he would benefit rather than injure 
his cause by exposing the plot to ruin and fleece James. 
Would Mr. Blaikie choose, and choose quickly? 

And Mr. Blaikie, after a brief consideration, chose to 
tell the truth, and forever remove from Harvey James the 
brand of counterfeiter. 

The testimony against the entire gang was clear and 
conclusive. The elder Brookhouse, knowing this, made 
very little eftort to defend himself and his band, and so 
" The Squire" and Arch Brookhouse were sentenced for 
long terms. Louis Brookhouse, the two Briggs, Ed. D wight, 
the festive, Larkins and the two city scamps, were sen- 
tenced for lesser periods, but none escaped lightly. 

Only one question, and that one of minor importance, 
yet lacked an answer, and one day, before his trial, I 
visited Arch Brookhouse in his cell, my chief purpose being 
to ask this question. 

"There is one fhin^ " I said, after a few words had 

O * / 

passed between us, "there is one thing that I should like 
you to tell me, merely as a matter of self-gratification, as it is 
now of no special importance ; and that is, how did you 


discover ray identity, when I went to Mrs. Ballou's dis- 
guised as a Swede?" 

He laughed harshly. 

"You detectives do not always cover up your tracks," 
he said, with a sneer. "I don't object to telling you what 
you seem so curious about. 'Squire Ewing and Mr. Rutger 
went to the city to employ you, and no doubt you charged 
them to be secret as the grave concerning your plans. 
Nevertheless, Mr. Rutger, who is a simple-minded confid- 
ing soul, told the secret in great confidence to Farmer La 
Porte; and he repeated it, again in great confidence in the 
bosom of his family." 

"And in the presence of his son, Johnnie?" 

"Just so. When we learned that a disguised detective 
was coming into the community, and that he would appear 
within a certain time, we began to look for him, and you 
were the only stranger we discovered." 

"And you wrote me that letter of warning?" 


"And undoubtedly you are the fellow who shot at 

"I am happy to say that I am." 

"And I am happy to know that I have deprived you of 
the pleasure of handling fire-arms again for some time to 
come. Good morning, Mr. Brookhouse." 

That was my final interview with Arch Brookhouse, but 
I saw him once more, for the last time, when I gave my 


testimony against him at the famous trial of the Trafton 

When the whole truth concerning the modus operandi 
of the horse-thieves was made public at the trial, when the 
Traftonites learned that for five years they had harbored 
stolen horses under the very steeples of the town, and that 
those horses, when the heat of the chase was over, were 
boldly driven away across the country and toward the river 
before a lumbering coal cart, they were astounded at the 
boldness of the scheme, and the hardihood of the men who 
had planned it. 

But they no longer marveled at their own inability to 

fathom so cunning a plot. 





When Winter closed in, and the first snow mantled the 
farms of Groveland, the poor girl whom Johnny La Porte 
had reluctantly made his wife, closed her eyes upon this 
earthly panorama. 

She never rallied after her return from the South. They 
said that she died of consumption, but her friends knew, 
whatever medical name might be applied to her disease at 
the end, that it began with a broken heart. 

When it was over, and Nellie Ewing had no further 
need of his presence, Johnny La Porte, who, held to his 
duty by the stern and oftentimes 'menacing eye of 'Squire 
Ewing, as well as by the fear which Games had implanted 
in his heart, had been as faithful and as gentle to his poor 
wife as it was in his worthless nature to be, now found 
himself shunned in the community where he had once been 
petted and flattered. 

There was no forgiveness in the heart of 'Squire Ewing, 
and his door was closed against his daughter's destroyer; 
for such the Grovelanders, in spite of his tardy reparation, 
considered Johnny La Porte. 

He attempted to resume his old life in Grovelaud ; but 


'Squire Ewing was beloved in the community, and when 
he turned his back upon Johnny La Porte his neighbors 
followed his example. 

Nowhere among those cordial Grovelanders was there u 
place or a welcome for the man who had blighted the life 
of Nellie Ewing, and so he drifted away from Grovelaml, 
to sink lower and lower in the scale of manhood dissolute, 
brainless, a cumberer of the ground. 

Nellie Ewing's sad death had its effect upon thoughtless 
little Mamie Rutger. She was shocked into sobriety, and 
her grief at the loss of her friend brought with it shame 
for her own folly, and then repentance and a sincere effort 
to be a more dutiful daughter and a better woman. 

Mrs. Ballou put her threat into execution after mature 
deliberation. She put her daughter Grace into a convent 
school, and then, to make assurance doubly sure, she rented 
her fine farm, and look up her abode near that of the good 
sisters who had charge of her daughter's mental and spiri- 
tual welfare. 

As for the Little Adelphi and Fred Brookhouse, they 
both lost prestige after coming under the severe scrutiny of 
the police. One iniquitous disco very concerning the theatre 
and its manager led to more; and before another Spring 
visited the Sunny South, the Little Adelphi and Fred 
Brook house had vanished together, the one transformed 
into an excellent green grocers' establishment, and the 
other into a strolling disciple of chance. 


Amy Holmes clung to the Little Adelphi to the last; 
and, after its final fall, she, too, wandered away from New 
Orleans, carrying with her, her secret which had been so 
serviceable a weapon in the hands of Games, but which he 
never knew. 

It is written in the book of Fate that I shall pay one 
more visit to Trafton. 

This time there is no gloom, no plotting; there are no 
wrongs to right. The time is the fairest of the year, May 
time, and the occasion is a joyous one. 

Doctor Denham, funny, talkative, and lovable as ever; 
Carnes, bubbling over with whimsical Hibernianisms; Gerry 
Brown, handsome and in high spirits; and myself, quite 
as happy as are the rest; all step down upon the platform 
at the Trafton depot, and one after another grasp the out- 
stretched hands of Harvey James, whom we all will call 
Jim Long in spite of ourselves, and then receive the hearty 
welcome of the Harris's, senior and junior, and many other 

We have come to witness the end of our Trafton drama, 
viz., the marriage of Louise Barnard and Carl Bethel. 

Bethel is as happy as mortals are ever permitted to bo 
and as handsome as a demigod. There are left no traces 
of his former suffering; the wound inflicted by a hired as- 
sassin has healed, leaving him as strong as of old, and only 
the scar upon his breast remains to tell the story of the 
long days when his life hung by a thread. 


Of the blow that was aimed at his honor, there remains 
not even a scar. The plot of the grave robbers has re- 
coiled upon their own heads. Dr. Carl Bethel is to-day 
the leading physician, and the most popular man in Traf- 
ton. m 

" I have waited for this event," says Harvey James, as 
we sit chatting together an hour before the marriage. " I 
have waited to see them married, and after this is over, I 
am going West." 

"Not out of our reach, I hope!" 

"No; I have still the surplus of the price of my farm ; 
enough to buy me a ranche and stock it finely. I mean to 
build a roomy cabin and fit it up so as to accomodate guests. 
Then by and by, when you want another Summer's vacation, 
you and Carnes shall come to my ranche. I have talked 
over my plans with Bethel and his bride, and they have 
already accepted my hospitality for next year's vacation. 
I anticipate some years of genuine comfort yet, for I have 
long wanted to explore the West, and try life as a ranch- 
man, but I would not leave Trafton while Brooks con- 
tinued to flourish in it. Do you mean to accept my invi- 
tation, sir?" 

" I do, indeed ; and as for Carnes, you'll get him to come 
easier than you can persuade him to leave." 

"Nothing could suit me better." 

Louise Barnard made a lovely bride, and there never 
was a merrier or more harmonious wedding party. 


During the evening, however, the fair bride approached 
Jim or Harvey James and myself, as we stood a little 
aloof from the others. There was the least bit of a frown 
upon her face, too, as she said : 

"I can't help feeling cross with you, sir detective. 
Somebody must bear the blame of not bringing Adele 
Lowenstein to my wedding. I wrote her that I should 
take her presence as a sign that she fully believed in the 
sincerity of my friendship, and that Trafton would thus 
be assured of my entire faith in her, and yet, she-declined." 

I do not know what to say in reply. So I drop my eyes 
and mentally anathematize my own stupidity. 

"Bo you know why she refused to come?" she persists. 

While I still hesitate, Jim I must say Jim touches 
my arm. 

"Your delicacy is commendable," he says in my ear. 
"But would it not be better to tell Mrs. Bethel the truth, 
than to allow her to think the woman she has befriended, 

I feel that he is wise and I am foolish; so I lift my 
eves to her face and say : 

"Mrs. Bethel, Adele Lowenstein had one secret that you 
never guessed. If you had seen her, as I saw her, at the 
bedside of your husband, on the day after the attempt upon 
liis life, you, of all women in the world, would understand 
best why she is not at your wedding to-day." 

She utters a startled exclamation, and her eyes turn 


involuntarily to where Carl Bethel stands, tall and splendid, 
among his guests; then a look of pitying tenderness comes 
into her face. 

" Poor Adele !" she says softly, and turns slowly 

"Adele Lowenstein is not the woman to forget easily," 
I say to my companion. "But there," and I nod toward 
Gerry Brown, "is the man who would willingly teach her 
the lesson." 

"Then," says Jim, contentedly, "it is only a question of 
time. Gerry Brown is bound to win." 



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Author of " SHADOWED BY THREE," " MADELINE PAYNE," etc. (Ready Dec. 1st, 1884.) 


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CONTENTS. The Ljvers' Meeting, The Serpent in Eden. ASudc.c \ 
Departure. What the Old Tree Revealed. Two Heartless Plotters. Tl j 
Story of a Mother's Wrongs ami a Husband's Crimes. Turns her Back o- 
the old Home, and Trusts the Future and Lucian Davlin. Nurse Hagar i 
"Out of Sorts." Madeline Defies her Enemies. " 1'ou are her Murderer ! 
The Hallway Station at Night. A Disappointed Schemer Rejoiced. Mad- 
eline's Flight. The Night Journey to New York. A Friendly Warning 
Unheeded. " Take it; In the A ame of your Mother I ask it!" Alone in the 
Great City. A Shrewd Scheme. An Ever-Piesent Face. Olive Gerard's 
Warning. The Cruel Awakening. The Bird in a Golden Cage. The Luxu- 
rious Apartments of Lucian Davli n, the Man of Luck. A Dissatisfied Serv- 
ant. The Man of Luck Defied. A Well- Aimed Pistol Shot. " Little Demon, 
I will kill you before I will lose you now!" Doctor Vaughn Summoned. 
A Charming Widow at Itellalr. "The Danger is Past!" Gone! " When 
Next we Meet. I Shall Have Other Weapons !" Bonnie, Bewitching Claire. 
A Tell-tale Photograph. "Cruel, Crafty, Treacherous." Madeline and 
Olive in Conference. "Kitty, the Dancer, will Die!" The Story of an Old 
Crime Retold. "Percy! Percy! Percy!" A Message from the Dead. "May 
God's Curse fall on all who Drove her to her Doom!" Miss Arthur's French 
Maid. Cora Growing Weary of Dissembling. Celine Leroque Overhears 
an Important Conversation. Mr. Percy startled. Cora Shares this Feeling. 
Percy Turns the Tables. "And yet yon are on the Earth!" Celine Manages 
to PI i y the Spy to some Purpose. Cora and Celine Measure Swords. Cora's 
Cunning Plot. "Celine looked Cautiously about her." An Intercepted Tel- 
egram. Face to Face. A Midnight Appointment. "lam Afraid for you; 
but give ir up now? never!" An Irate Spinster. Celine's Highly Probable 
Story. Gathering Clues. A Hurried Visit. The Hand of Friendship 
Wields the Surgeon's Knife. Claire Keith Placed Face to Face with 
Trouble. A Dual Renunciation. An Astonishing Disclosure. "I am not 
Worthy of him. and she is!" Struggling Against Fate. "Ah, how Dared I 
think to Become one of you?" A Fiery Fair Champion. Hagar and Cora 
have a Meeting. Cora gets a Glimmer of a False Light. " To be, to do, to 
Suffer." A Troubled Spinster. An Aggravating French Maid. "Won't 
there be a Row in the Castle!" Setting some Snares. Cora and Celine form 
an Alliauie. A Veritable Ghost Awakens Consternation in the Household. 
"If ever you want to make him feel what it is to Suffer. Hagar will help 
you!" Doctor Vaughn Visits Bellair. Not a Bad Day's Work. Henry Re- 
veals his Master's Secrets. Claire Turns Circe A Mysterious Tenant. 
Celine Hurries Matters a Trifle. The Curtain Rises on the Mimic Stage. 
Celine Discharged by the Spinster, takes Service with Cora. The Sudden 
Illness. The Learned "Doctor from Europe." "I am Sorry, very Sorry." 
The Plot Thickens. A Midnight Conflagration. The Mysterious House in 
Flames, and its Mysterious Tenant takes Refuge with Claire. The Story of 
a Wrecked Life. " Well, it is a Strange Business, and a Difficult." Letters 
from the Sent of War. Mr. Percy Shakes Himself. A Fair Invalid. "Two 
Handsomer Scoundrels Never Stood at Bay!" A Silken Belt Wortl. a King's 
Ransom. A Successful Burglary. Cross Purposes. A Slight Complication. 
A new Detective on the Scene. Clarence Vaughn seeks to Cultivate him. 
Bidding High for First-Class Detective Service. "Thou Shalt not Serve 
two Masters" set at naught. Mr. Lord's Letter. Premonitions of a Storm. 
"The fellow is Dead!" A Thunderbolt. "I have come back to my own!" 
A Fair but Strong. Hand. Cora Restive under Orders. "You you 
are - ?" "Celine Leroque, Madam." A Mailman. A Bogus Doctor Un- 
comfortabK "Don't you try that, sir!" Lucian Davlin's "Points" are 
False Beacons. Cora's Humiliation. An Arrival of Sharp-Eyed Well- 
Borers. R.-ither Strange Maid Servants. The Cords are Tightening and the 
Victims Writhe. A Veritable Sphynx. Sleeping with Eyes Open. A Sav- 
age Toothache. A Judicious Use of Chloroform. A Bold Break for Free- 
dom. An Omnipresent Well-Borer, " No Nonsense, Mind; I'm not a Flat." 
"For God's sake, what are you?" "A Witch!" The Doctor's Wooing. 
Mrs. Ralston Overhea-s Something. A Fresh Complication. 'He is very 
Handsome; so are Tigers!" An Astounding Revelation. Mrs. Ralston's 
Story. "No." gasped Olive, "I I." A Movement in Force. Cora stirs 
up the Animals. A Wedd'ng Indefinitely Postponed for Cause. Nipped in 
the Bud. Ready for Action. "Be at the Cottage to-night." A Pleafor ror- 

S'veness. Sharpening the Sword of Fate. The Weight of a Woman's 
and. "Officers.take him; he has been my Prisoner long enough!" "Man, 
you have been a Dupe, a Fool !" Cora's Confession. "The Pistol is Aimed 
at Madeline's Heart !" " It is a Death Wound !" "The Goddess you Wor- 
ship has Deserted you!" The Death -bed of a Hypocrite. "And then comes 
The World is Clothed in a New White Garment. 
"God's greatness shines around our iucompleteness, 
Bound our restlessness His rest I" 



By WM. H. THOMES. author of "The Bushrangen," "The Gold Hunters in Europe," 

"A Whaleman's Adventures," "Life in the East Indies," "Adventures on a 

Slaver," "Running the Blockade," etc., etc. 

" Now for a rush. Cut them to piecegl" 



"We saw many species of wild animals." Page 89. 





A Whaleman's Adventures 






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